Large Purchase Decision Tree


I’ve written before about how hard it is for me to spend money. Sometimes, however, I just need to. I’ve developed a decision tree to help me and my husband work through our purchases. This series of questions isn’t meant to make a decision for you, just to help you in the decision-making process. While we usually reserve this decision tree for larger purchases, it’s also handy for the smaller stuff too.

Is this a need or a want? There is nothing wrong with having a want, just don’t sacrifice a need for a want.

Do I have enough cash to pay for this? My advice to myself: an elephant on sale for a dime is a great deal, if you have a dime and if you need an elephant.

If I buy this with cash will I be sacrificing elsewhere? Spending $100 on a nice dinner out is awesome, but not if it means we have to eat ramen noodles for a week afterward.

If I buy this on credit can I pay it off before it accrues interest? Very, very few things are worth going into debt for but there are instances when it’s necessary. Credit itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just know what you’re getting into before you get into it.

Can I buy this elsewhere for less? Used? Refurbished? Shiny & new is fun but older and cheaper is often better.

Can I borrow, rent, make or substitute something else for this item? This is especially true of tools, big machines, and party ware. If you need something for a one-time job or event, buying the item is rarely the best idea.

Have I calculated how long I would have to work to pay for this item? I once had a fancy coffee addiction. I also had a job I hated. As I was in line for a tall mocha-latte-chinno I calculated that I would have to work 25 minutes, at a job that I loathed, just to pay for that coffee. So not worth it.

Have I asked someone for their advice or opinion on this purchase? Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who isn’t affected by the purchase.

What would happen if I waited a week to buy this? A month? A year? How drastically will your life change without buying this item?


One thought on “Large Purchase Decision Tree

  1. Lots of good advice here. One of my guidelines for making any purchase over $100, is to wait at least one day or overnight before making the purchase. Pressure salespeople hate me. lol

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