A few years back I moved into a studio flat and it became glaringly obvious I have far too much stuff. I was quite busy at the time so some of my things stayed in boxes for month after month. I did not feel the need to open the boxes and use them. Sometimes I forgot that I have them at all! I mean, what is the point in having things or buying things, that I do not really need or feel the lack of them.
That is when I have decided to take more a minimalistic approach to my surroundings, verify and change purchase decisions, and be more selective with what I bring home. Also, then I realised that for all of the things I carried in black bin bags to a charity, I could have bought a return ticket to Peru. What a waste of money and travel opportunity!
There are a few practical questions to ask yourself before buying a product and making up your mind about it. Different variations of these questions above can be ask for different categories such as beauty, home, clothes, entertainment, travel etc. However, for me they all go to simple three:
Do I need it?
There is a big difference between needing something and wanting to have it. I usually wait a day or two before buying, especially if I am intending to buy it online. Very often a day or two later I do not even remember that such a thing has been added to my basket. Obviously it was an impulsive desire to possess it rather than a justified need. Consequently I would not really use it since there is no need to have it at the first place.
Do I have something, which already does the same job?
I have already told you about my experience with over buying black dresses, when I was sharing things, which affect your budget here. Although it is very simple to get overly excited about something, which is new, fresh and just shouts out from the shelves buy me, do I really need another speaker, laptop, mascara, pair of shoes in a gorgeous brown? Probably not.
Is it worth its price?
Buying low quality products means, that you will have to buy replacement sooner, for example buying lower quality blouse might tear easier, fabric might change colour or shape sooner and at the end you will be forced to buy another one. Whereas better quality blouse, despite the fact being initially more expensive will last for four seasons and still look brand new. My mum always used to say 'quality over quantity' and after a few crazy years, where I would spend and spend money for cheaper versions I learned that actually this is not saving me any money nor looks good.
However, what about the times when I really need something, I do not have anything that can do the same job but is very expensive. Buying less actually means that after a time you will be able to afford to buy better quality, more expensive items, which will last for longer. Those are the things you want to start surrounding yourself with, not cheap quality items which fall apart after the first time washing, change shape or colour, or give you a rash after a few weeks.
This question also helps me to be more financially aware of the effect particular purchase would have on my finances. Would I really be happy to work 7 hours to pay for this additional mascara just because I like how it looks, not knowing if it is suitable for my, or would I rather buy a ticket to flight down to London? Yes, I managed to get cheaper flights to London from Aberdeen than the cost of my mascara.
This is also the time to think if buying this item brings more expenses, which is often a case with tech gadgets. There is always something, that can increase the quality of a video, stabilise the image, or new exciting software to use. I am guilty of not researching a few items previously, a camera's price that was supposed to cost £500 doubled. That was not the best financial choice in my life, I must admit.
How do you decide what to buy, when you are shopping?