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How Do You Figure Out What "Extras" Are Worth Buying?
I'm always thinking of items that could help my day to day life, like a walking desk to keep me fit, but I'm having trouble figuring out whether or not these purchases would be worth it, especially since I don't "need" any of them. How do you prioritize extras that "might" improve your life?
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I may be atypical, but I like to start with the problem first. Like what problem do I have and how do I solve it? I bought so much stuff I never used in my life that now I always ask myself: do I really need this? Can I live without it? What if instead of buying it I put that money into a Roth 401K? I also may be more frugal that other people, but I'd say, if you think something will really make you happy, or improve your life as you said, you should get it. If not, then hold off.
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J
@Leah989, I love that approach - looking at the problem first. I think that's where I'm going to start! Thanks for the advice!
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@Jimmy298, you bet! I hope it helps.
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This is the exact question I struggle with too, probably most of us! I'll start by saying that we're all different, driven by different motivations (so no one size fits all), but the way I try to look at it is which of these "extras" will give me long term value, happiness and utility. A walking desk may have a lot of value and utility if you don't exercise much otherwise, or you think it will make you more healthy and happy, and you'll use it for years to come. It could help you get fit during work hours that you otherwise wouldn't get and by getting it, it could add a few more years to your life? Then the next question is: how often will you use it? Having said all that though, there are times I splurge and it makes me happy so I do it and try not to look back but just enjoy it. (Hope that didn't confuse you.)
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J
@Jess225, I love that as well! Thanks for the thoughtful reply! I particularly love the question of how often will you use it! That is really actionable and could give great insight into how to compare utility!
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Good question. Like the answers here. One thing that someone told me a while ago that helps me every now and then is to sleep on it. Sometimes we think we should buy something then the next day we don't. Maybe it can be useful for some purchase decisions?
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J
@Vinny869, I love that as well - have you ever found of a way to automate reminding yourself to do that?
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@Jimmy298, well, if I don't think about it or remember the next day probably not worth buying!
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J
@Vinny869, have you ever tried using reminders to check in about a purchase? Like to see if you did end up thinking about it the next day?
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@Jimmy298, not really. Unfortunately, I get bombarded with ads of the exact thing I checked out online, so even if I try to forget I see it everywhere I go. Drives me insane!
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J
@Vinny869, oh I forgot about that - that sucks! Does it make you want to buy the product more or less haha?
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Great thought provoking question. I know being a minimalist is something people think about often, yet it remains just the thought without specific actions. I have heard about friends reading books about them, and I came across a writer who was writing a book about the subject. I realize this is becoming more of a trend, and people really desire to live by simple means without owning too many things. Sometimes, before I buy anything I imagine myself packing the items to move to a new place. Then, the answer is very simple, if no it is not worth it!
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J
@Stella-CFA-CFP, that's really cool - visualization can be so powerful!
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Are you familiar with the Rule of 72? You can use this to project what that purchase amount would be worth in X # of years. For instance, a $250 desk today might be worth $8,000 in your retirement account (I've arbitrarily assigned you an age, 30, an annual rate of investment growth, 8%, and a retirement age of 74). It's a pretty cool financial rule!
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J
@Ilene795, I had never heard of that before! Thanks for the tip!
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@Jimmy298, you're welcome!
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T
What I usually do when I have this kind of doubt is let it sit for a while. I put the extras into a spreadsheet, with it's cost, link where to buy and it's state (idea, not purchased, ordered, delivered) and analyse the big picture of all the extras I want to buy. This helps me decide which ones do I really right now and which ones I can sit for a while. If I've learned anything with this method, is that 80% of the stuff that go into the spreadsheet aren't really necessary and I am thankful I waited to see it's importance instead of impulse buying something I don't actually need.
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@TaniaVieira Love that you can use something as easy as a spreadsheet to do this and it works. Your 80% statistic is neat to see. Great idea!
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