Five Things to Do Before Every Big Purchase

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Posted on 10/21/2011

Most of us have spent money impulsively. But experts agree it’s best to put some thought behind those major financial decisions. Some people may define a “big purchase” as a $50 dinner at Outback Steakhouse. Others may see it as spending $3,000 to upgrade your flat screen. But that doesn’t really matter—what matters is that before locking yourself in to a big purchase you do these five things.


Set a Limit Right now, before you do anything else set a limit. This is an amount that you—and your spouse if you have one—agree never to spend without some serious thought. That way if you ever find yourself trying to justify a major purchase on the fly you have rules in place to protect yourself (and your finances) from making a rash decision.


Walk Away

You may have stumbled upon a great deal or a super bargain, but if it’s still considered a big purchase in terms of your household budget then you need to walk away. Weigh the pros and cons. Put some physical distance between you and the potential purchase. Give yourself some breathing room before heading to the checkout.


Discuss it With Others

Sometimes it’s hard to make good decisions when our hearts and our pocketbooks are involved. Get a fresh perspective. You may really love the item, but telling a trusted advisor about your purchase may help you see it in a different way.


Comparison Shop
Is buying new the way to go? Or could you get a discount buying used? What are competitors offering? Does the retailer have a price match policy? Are there coupons available? Do some online research and comparison shopping before handing over your hard earned money. Check out websites like Epinions.com or Consumer Reports to get unbiased opinions on whether it’s a good, quality product.


Consider Your Financial Goals

Perhaps you’ve been working to pay off debt or save up for a Mediterranean cruise. Making this big purchase will impact your financial goals—there’s no question about it. So it’s important to remember those goals and determine whether you’re willing to delay achieving them by making this purchase. Whether you move forward or you don’t, at least you can feel better knowing you took some time to make sure it was the best money move.

By Alison Storm


Want to read more tips on how to save money? Be sure to check out 5 Great Books to Add to Your Financial Library for advice on money problems, how to achieve goals you've set for yourself, inspiration, and more!

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