Possessions—five questions before you buy!

(Best of Celebrating Your Journey – March 14, 2010)

To all my readers: With 2019, the 14th year of my Celebrating Your Journey blog articles, “From the Heart” byline, I will be offering the “Best of the Best” articles you found helpful through the years. Many thanks to everyone who have given input and followed along w/ each month’s lifeskill—Relationships/Core Values, Time Mgt, Career/Money Mgt, Recordkeeping, Possessions, Housekeeping, Wellness, Meals, Childcare, Recreation/ Entertainment, Reflection, and Celebration. For my new readers, may these lifeskill articles offer you encouragement, insight, and commitment to seek, reach, and achieve your life dreams and goals in synergy.

Life may get complicated at times, but the decision to buy more “stuff” that enriches your life and relationships can be fairly simple. With just five questions to ask yourself before you buy, you can more easily make the connection between your possessions or “stuff” and your life. If your answers to all five questions are “yes,” you then have a clearer road-map to follow for each potential purchase. Yet, your answer to some of the questions may be just a bit more involved. Let’s start with reading over a couple times all five questions.

  1. Is it a simple desire that I can do without or is it important and necessary to
    my life?
  2. How does this item fit my personal, professional, and life goals?
  3. Do I have the money to pay for it and take care of it?
  4. Am I willing to give up something else in order to get it?
  5. Am I willing to wait and create a SMART plan to purchase it later?

Question 1: Is it a simple desire that I can do without or is it important and necessary to my life?

Here is a contrast question asking you to reflect on whether you are really looking at a want or a need. And that can get a little thorny. Both have an important place in your life. Wants are actually very good things when they support your life dreams and goals; and encourage healthy relationships. Simple desires come to us every day as we see something in the store window that attracts our attention. You may even entertain purchasing it since the cost is fairly minimal in your view; and you have a few more dollars left in your checkbook for the month anyway.

You may think, “This is no big deal to the big picture of my life, and it will be fun to have.” You may be right in the short-run, maybe even the long-run. Yet, again, add up about a hundred of those purchases and see in ten years where you are not just financially but with your life in general. Will you see a connection to where you are now—good, bad, or ugly?

And with the part that asks if it is important and necessary to your life, you may say “It’s definitely important to me but possibly not necessarily necessary to my life.” That can happen. One example could be a car purchase. Now, most of us all know that having a vehicle to drive is an essential part of daily living in our community and nation. However, could an economy car with a price tag under $20,000 work well enough? Or do you see yourself so clearly seated in the latest or even vintage Lamborghini? What other factors, other than cost, are important to you in the decision?

We all have fantasies about the “what ifs.” And those fantasies can be lots of fun to imagine. Many times, that is how our innate creativity comes alive and begins to spark planning ideas. Yet, we all need to balance it with the here and now. As we come back to our reality, we must ask ourselves, “Really, what is most important to me, right here, right now; and how will this affect me in the years ahead?” This same question is valid for any choices you are about to make in your life—from a job, relationship, marriage, divorce, health, travel…you name it.

So right now, focus on something you would like to possibly purchase. Ask yourself this first question and share your thoughts with your family or trusted friend who will not just nod and agree with you, knowing the ultimate decision is yours and no one else. Your family member or friend would be someone that would ask inquiring questions to help you envision how your purchase fits into your life today and the years ahead. Try not to be defensive in the dialogue, but open to inquiry and creative discovery about yourself and your life dreams and goals. You will then be ready for the next question.

Question 2. How does this item fit my personal, professional, and life goals?

This is where you will do a little homework. Take some time to reflect and write down your top five life goals for your personal and professional life. How is your decision to purchase an investment in your values, dreams, and goals?

Then begin to do some research on your potential purchase—type, model/features, cost, planning/preparation work, care requirements, etc. This applies to whether you are thinking of buying a car, home, simply a coat or pair of shoes. Then see how it fits into your top five life goals. Get into the routine for reflecting on any purchase, small or large, based on this question.

[Dear Readers: To continue with the remaining three questions from the May 2010 articles series, you can follow along with the link provided. May this series provide you with the needed purchase priority basics we all need in our lives.]