I always get a case of “The Giggles” when a reader emails to ask for permission to buy something. That ‘thing’ could be a gadget, some gear, or even a new house. I’m pretty flattered to be the approving source for so many people’s purchases — It’s like I’m the Fairy Blog Mother who approves (or denies) consumerism with the wave of a magic spending wand. Hey, I’m into it.

The problem is I’m more of a blogger and less of a fairy. Also, I don’t own a wand. And being a kind and gentle gal, I tend to feel really really bad when I have to tell a super nice reader, “Hey, I don’t think you can afford it. Save up and buy it later!”

Since I think you’re all pretty smart and really don’t need my approval anyways, I’ve put together a simple chart to help you decide (for yourselves) if buying that thing is a good idea or not. It’s like a magic wand, but with less fairy dust and more flowchart logic. Logic, people — I’m into it.

You can download a letter-sized printable version of Should You Buy It? and stick it on your fridge. If you’re debating the purchase of a new fridge, then this is really the best place to stick this flowchart. It’s like I’m watching you, but not.

Should You Buy It? Flowchart

Download: Should You Buy It? (printable version)

How to use the “Should You Buy It?” flowchart

Start by asking yourself a few tough questions. The key is to be honest. The Fairy Blog Mother will know when you’re kidding yourself — she has the technology.

  • Do you need it? If you can live without it you likely don’t need it.
  • Can you afford it? Paying for it with the cash you have is a good idea. Adding to credit card debt is a bad idea.
  • Have you looked at alternatives? Consider competing models, buying used, or finding a seller with a lower price.
  • …and this was the best deal? Reconsider the alternatives. Do you need all the fancy features? Can you find a better price? Check out The Definitive Guide: 22 Ways to get a discount on anything.
  • Is it high quality? Aim to buy quality items that stand the test of time.
  • Does high quality matter? Not high quality doesn’t imply low quality. Spending big bucks on 1,500 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheets is silly when 400 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheets cost less and are quality too.

Be honest with yourself. Save up for needed purchases. And shop around for the best price. Kudos.

(aka ‘Fairy Blog Mother’)