1. Sleep on It
Before you make a huge purchase, wait a week. Walk away from whatever it is that you wanted to buy, and see if you still want it just as badly after time has passed. If you’re still obsessing next weekend, then it’s probably worth laying down the cash. If you found the item for the first time when shopping for fun and it’s a huge stretch for your wallet, DON’T get it. This is an impulse buy. The item will still be in the store in a week. Wait a while and go back to the store with a purpose.
2. Do Your Homework
You’ve got a week to kill now after walking away, and you might as well do some research. Go online and read product reviews. See if other people’s spending paid off. Reviewers will often say that the size of something runs small, or that there is something else notable about the product. If these comments appear in multiple reviews, pay attention. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t buy the product, but maybe you should consider buying it in a size larger. There will always be someone who doesn’t like something, so don’t base your judgment of the product on just one review. That being said, if you ignore an abundance of negative reviews because you really want to make the purchase, you might be in denial.
3. Feel the Burn
Calculate how many hours of work you slaved away to spend this amount of cash. Doing this for cheaper, more basic purchases can be quite depressing, but this is a practical way to help you decide if the price is actually worth it. If you earned the money you’re going to spend yourself, it is really rewarding to save up and make a big purchase. Just make sure you’re not ripping yourself off.
4. Get Your Money’s Worth
That being said, make sure you get the best out of your product. If it’s a pair of new shoes, think about how many times you will wear them, and divide the price by that amount of times. For example, if you’d wear a new pair of $100 combat boots every other day in the fall, you’d be wearing them about 45 times. So you’re basically paying $2.22 per wear. However, if you buy a bold pair of yellow heels for the same price that you’d only be able to wear three times a year for certain occasions and with specific outfits, you’ll be paying a lot more per wear. Although this math can be a bummer, figuring it out can help you decide whether or not it’s worth it to splurge.
5. What are you wearing, Jake from State Farm
Give yourself some insurance. Before you spend a huge amount of money, take a peak (just do it quick like a Band-aid) at your bank account, and make sure you’re not putting yourself in the hole. If you’re going to be totally strapped for cash after making the purchase, consider waiting a bit until you have a better safety net of cash.
6. Plan Ahead
Things come up. Cars break down and friends make expensive plans. Be sure you can still afford other costs that could present themselves to you before your next paycheck or two. Check your calendar and see which other things could be expenses for the month. Make sure you’re financially covered for them before spending big to prevent stress later.
7. Bargain Hunting
See what the item costs at different stores to be sure you’re cutting expenses as much as possible. You can use Consumer World’s Price Checker to easily search for an item’s costs at many different places.
8. Can I See Some ID?
Two words: student discount. Use your student status to save some cash by flashing your student ID at the register. Many clothing stores, restaurants and electronics stores offer discounts for college students. Your student ID can get you discounts from Apple to ASOS to Arby’s. Check this list of “95 Student Discounts” for ideas, and make spending a huge amount a little more bearable.
9. Make it Rain
Now that you can feel you’ve researched the product to the best of your ability, and you have decided it’s worth your money, you can swipe your debit card with a clear conscience. Good for you for waiting a week and responsibly managing your money before splurging. If possible, buy the product in stores, not online. Make sure you can try the item on, see it, feel it and be sure it’s what you really want. Items online sometimes look completely different than they actually are. Buying the item in the stores gives you a better guarantee that you are getting what you are paying for. Plus, you don’t have to pay for shipping.
10. The Aftermath
It’s a hole in your wallet, not in your heart. Don’t panic. There’s probably a paycheck in your future. Recover from the money hangover. Save extra for a while, cut back on shopping until you’ve caught back up with the money you spent and, most importantly, enjoy your new purchase!