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Buying with a Purpose

Have you recently made a trip to your local superstore (Target, Wal-Mart) and have come out with a cart full of stuff you didn't know you needed?

A typical scenario at most retail stores is having a cart full of things that we think we might use, but we end up using it once, maybe twice and hoping we can repurpose the item. Some items are disposable, and others are one-time use. Other household items have a longer shelf life and may be used until it breaks or is out of style. Most items outlive their purpose before they die and are donated, recycled, or thrown away.

Buying with a purpose is all about making a conscious decision to understand whether you need that item and if that item will fulfill its purpose more than once. Most people talk about investing in high-priced items that will last years to come, or items that will have a dual role.

But how do you stop yourself from buying without a purpose?

In my personal opinion, it comes down to changing your habits when shopping. Have a conversation with yourself and identify whether or not you need the item. Start by asking yourself these types of questions :

  1. Do I already own this or something similar?

  2. Will this provide something I do not have?

  3. Can I use this more than once?

  4. What are the ways I can use this item?

Take something we all purchase at the local retail store: a travel mug

  1. Yes, I have four travel mugs

  2. It's a cute travel mug, but no, it does not provide anything different

  3. Yes, I can use this several times

  4. Besides as a travel mug, I can't think of anything else

Should I buy that cute travel mug?

Well, I have four working travel mugs; why would I need to buy another one?

Maybe, I will hold off on the purchase until one of the travel mugs breaks or I donate the ones I don't use anymore.

But ask yourself, why do you want the new travel mug? Is it because it's cute, does it have different features that your other travel mugs don't have, is it because it's on sale and it's a great price? Think about it... why do you want a new travel mug if you already have four ?

Just taking the time to think about the question could help you take a minute and make a conscious decision about what you buy and see if the items are something you need.

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