Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cost/Benefit Analysis

So, I was reading a post on one of the discussion boards I frequent and it linked me to blog post discussing a couple's choice to not buy a home in the current market even though they can afford it. By the end of the post readers are challenged readers to apply the following questions to each potential purchase:

1. Do I really need to buy this?
2. Does this purchase improve my life in a significant manner?
3. Is this item worth my money?

When I was poorer I began to make all purchases based on the 1st question but I never thought much past that 1st question. Now, reading the subsequent questions, I wonder how much I have bought in just the past 6 months that would meet purchase-worthy status. Some things, like paint for our house or the dining room table set, I can only answer yes to the 2nd & 3rd questions. Other things, like the blouse I'm wearing today (which was only $8!) I would have to answer no for each question.

When L and I were roomies we would regularly censor the other by asking "Do I really need to buy this or do I simply think I want it?" and it was an effective way of keeping our spending down. Now, we don't live together which means we don't go on random shopping trips together like we used to and I don't have my helpful, friendly conscience with me. I miss it. I wonder if she misses hers? Of course, I do have a husband who is all too eager to talk me out of a purchase so I don't miss it that much.

So, I think as I make future purchases that I will pause a moment to ask myself if I need it, if it will significantly improve my life, and if it is worth my money.

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