Questions to Ask When Making a Purchase

What are the questions that you ask before making a purchase?  Based on my own experience and from talking with others, there are generally two questions that most people ask:

  1. Do I want it?
  2. Can I afford it?

For most of us, if the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then we make the purchase.  But are these really the best questions to consider?  They certainly should be part of the decision making process, but are they the only questions to consider?

I think that there are other questions that should be considered.  Whether making a large purchase such as a house or car or a smaller purchase like clothes or a phone, below are some of the questions that I try to ask before making a purchase.

Is this best for me?

It’s possible that an item that I purchase could actually result in unforeseen consequences.  For example, the new IPhone 6 just came out last week – it looks awesome!  While it’s true that by purchasing this phone I may be able to be more efficient in responding to emails and be able to do cool new things, it’s also true that I may spend more time on the phone and less time doing the things that are most important in my life. 

Is there another item that would sufficiently meet my needs?

Do I really need the item that I am thinking of buying or is there something else that would fulfill my needs just as well.  I find that often times I make a purchase based on the way that it makes me feel rather than for practical purposes.  Many times there may be a less expensive option that is adequate.   

What could I do with these funds if I didn’t make this purchase?

There is always an opportunity cost that comes with any purchase, meaning that if I purchase one item, I can’t do something else with those dollars.  For example, if I decide to purchase a $5,000 car rather than a $10,000 car, what could I do with the extra $5,000?  Save for retirement?  Pay down debt?  Give it away?  The options are limitless.  It’s important for me to consider these possibilities before buying something.

Does God want me to make this purchase?

This is a consideration that can be easy to forget, but is extremely important.  I believe that my number one priority in this world is to glorify God with my life, so praying to God and asking Him to direct me in my purchases is key.  It’s worth evaluating whether the purchase will contribute to the God’s glory. 

What about you?  What are the questions that you ask before making a purchase?  Are there other questions that you’d like to start asking?

Photo courtesy of Tony Lahood Motors