Should I Buy It? 12 Questions that Help You Decide

should I buy it

Should I buy it or not? We all have asked us this question at least once, or more commonly, ask ourselves at least weekly. This is why I developed an easy to follow flowchart that makes the decision for you.

The Should I Buy It? flowchart prevents you from wasting money on things you do not need and encourages you to buy those that add value to your life. The chart is especially helpful if you are prone to making impulse purchases and want to learn how to live frugally.

Disclaimer | Monethalia does not offer financial advice. Should you take any action based on the information provided, I will not be liable for the outcome.

Should I buy it? Flowchart

To use the Should I Buy It? flowchart, start in the left-hand corner and work your way downwards, following the arrows.

Should i buy it
Should I Buy It? Flowchart.

Should I Buy It? flowchart explanation

Questions 1-3: The easy bit

In the first question, the flowchart will ask you whether you can borrow the item from a friend. You can often easily borrow items that are necessary but are not frequently used.

Borrowing a TV, for example, is much more difficult. Unless your friend has a spare TV they absolutely do not need, they are likely to want the TV back quickly. Items that are frequently used cannot generally be borrowed. In this case, proceed to question 2.

Should i buy it? 1-3
Questions 1-3 of the Should I Buy It? flowchart.

Question 2 will ask you whether you already possess a similar item that can fulfill the job of the object you wish to buy. How similar depends on you.

For example, looking at handbags, there are many different designs yet they all have the same purpose, to carry something. In terms of carrying ability, you could group similarly sized bags together. In terms of fashion, you could group similar colours together.

Questions 4-9: Within spending allowance

flowchart

This is where the Should I Buy It? flowchart becomes slightly more complicated. First, let us assume the item falls within your spending allowance and follow the left branch:

Question 4 will ask you whether you need the item you wish to buy. Need is defined as you having an immediate use for the item and not having compromises your survival, your regular life or convenience.

If you do not feel you need the item, proceed to question 5 and ask yourself whether you are buying the item for yourself or somebody else. Needless to say, you should not buy an item for yourself if

  • you do not need it or
  • it is for someone else but does not do any good (question 6).

Assuming you need the item, question 7 asks about your gut feeling or intuition. If you feel negative or are concerned about the purchase, do not buy it. Find out why you feel this way and, if appropriate, identify an alternative.

Question 8 looks at urgency and priorities. Prioritise purchases that immediately have a major impact on your quality of life over those that are minor. If there is anything you need more urgently, check that you can afford to buy both items (question 9).

Questions 10-11: Not within spending allowance

flowchart

Here, we go back a step and look at items that may fall outside your spending allowance. Question 10 will ask you whether you can make ends meet for the month. Clearly, if you otherwise cannot afford food and shelter, do not buy the item. Ideally, you should have an emergency fund (or rainy day fund) from which you can take the money.

If you have sufficient money, proceed to question 11 which will investigate whether the item you wish to buy is essential. “Essential” means necessary to maintain your quality of life.

Question 12: Comparision

Before you buy, the flowchart will ask you whether the item you wish to buy is the best choice in regards to price and quality. If possible, look at price-comparison websites, and check for cashback, discounts, and coupons.

Prices also usually depend on the quality of the product. If the item you wish to buy is one that you intend to use frequently, you may want to opt for slightly higher quality so it lasts longer. If you plan to use the item infrequently, average quality should do.

Making room in your budget

Sometimes, there is something you really need to buy even though it does not fit into your budget. If you do not have an emergency or sinking fund that can cover the expense, you have to take the money from something else.

Consider whether there is anything you do not need, starting with luxuries. Examples of this include a Netflix subscription, takeaway coffee, or clothes. Next, you could look at reducing your grocery costs by cutting down on meat or cooking more simple meals.

Taking out debt should be your last option. If you absolutely need to buy something, you could ask parents or friends for money. If there is no other option, 0% interest credit cards can help you out.

Spend guilt free

It is okay to spend money. Moreover, it is necessary to make certain purchases. This includes things you need for physical survival but also those that benefit your well-being and mental health. Therefore, there is no need to feel guilty if you buy something that is approved by the flowchart.

Should I Buy It? Flowchart Limitations

There will be times when the Should I Buy It? flowchart is unhelpful. The decision on whether to buy something is complicated and may depend on a number of factors. Additionally, it will not help you with other financial decisions such as whether to overpay your mortgage, or whether you should buy a house.

This guide attempts to simplify this complex decision and aid in everyday situations to make saving money easier.. The Should I Buy It? flowchart has the potential to save you from impulse buying and unwise decisions, but its success rate also depends on the user. When using it, you have to be honest with yourself.

Making impulse purchases is only one of many bad money habits. To make lasting changes, learn how to fix them.

If you like this post, please help Monethalia grow by sharing it with your friends.

Jennifer at Monethalia

7 thoughts on “Should I Buy It? 12 Questions that Help You Decide”

  1. so if you are able to affort it, but dont need it for surival but just want it for fun i cant buy it?

    1. Interesting question, Geert! I guess it depends on what you understand under”for fun”. If it’s something that’s meaningless to you, then yes, you shouldn’t buy it. If it is for a hobby, the answer to the question of whether you need it would be “yes”.

      For example, if your hobby is watching TV and your TV breaks, then you NEED a new one to continue pursuing your hobby. If you don’t normally watch TV and you see one that’s on offer or you just feel like spending money, then you don’t need it.

  2. Jenna Parrington

    I didn’t know what one of these was until I read your post but now I have I think I would really benefit from one! I can be terrible with money!

  3. Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too

    I’m so indecisive when it comes to making purchases, I usually decide not to buy and then regret it (often resulting in the thing I wanted being sold out)

    1. Interesting, for most people it’s the other way around. I guess the flowchart will still help you or you could try to make a “reverse” version of it/

  4. I love the idea of having a flow chart, I am quite good these days but used to buy things that I didn’t need when i was younger

  5. This is such a nice idea, especially thinking do I have something similar and is it an essential. As I always end up buying things which are similar to stuff I have in beauty and fashion x

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