Web DebtSmart.com
Friday, July 12, 2024   

Survey: Questions To Ask Yourself Before Spending
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
Printable format
FREE subscription to DebtSmart® Email Newsletter and FREE software too!

Scott Bilker


Thank you for your feedback! 

 don't like to tell people how to spend their money. My goal is to help them be financially efficient by being DebtSmart. However, a major component of saving money is cutting spending in specific budget categories. A simple way to help cut spending is to ask yourself some questions prior to every purchase. I'm sure you have your own questions that help make your buying decisions. Please read my questions and share yours by taking this survey!

Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Name and email are optional.
To add your spending question, go to the bottom of this page.

Question #1: Do I really need this item or can I survive without it?
: If I don't really need it then I don't want to buy it.

Question #2: Is it on the list?
: If it's not on the shopping list then I don't want it! Maybe I'll put it on the next list. The goal here is to avoid impulse purchases.

Question #3: Where will it go? Where will I put it?
: A friend of mine purchased a large screen TV. It's in his garage because there's no place to put it! If there's no room for "the stuff" don't get it! If you really need it then ask yourself, "What has to go for this new item to have room?"


"I have moved residences frequently. I use all of your questions, but include another. "Is this item worth having for the duration of my stay in any one place, or a) is it too expensive to just abandon, and/or b) too bulky or cumbersome to move to the new place?" Our family has passed many things by that we would otherwise have bought on impulse."

"Does my family or I really NEED something else more than we NEED or WANT this? Ex.: Buying designer clothes when someone else doesn't have decent "No-Name" shoes for school."

"Will I still have this in six months? If I won't, then I don't buy it--if I save the money instead, I might actually have something more for something that I really want and need down the road."

"Am I willing to spend that large amount of money? I like to at least think a day or two after I see the item I'd like to purchase before buying it. "

"1.) Do I need it now, or can I put the purchase off until later? Often, I can find a substitute item for the intended purchase, or eventually find that I don't need it at all. 

2.) Do I want to take care of it? For example, do I want to pay for dry cleaning, eventually paying more for upkeep than the original price of the garment? Or, do I want to move it, dust it, pay for replacement parts or batteries? This can be a really helpful decision making question."

"1. Can I afford to pay cash for it? Reasoning: If I can't, that means it has to go on my credit card, which easily piles into debt.

2. How often would I really use my purchase? Reasoning: I have so many things in my house already that I wore once, or used once, but spent a good deal of money on. If I can't see myself getting good use out of a purchase, I know I can live without it."

"I'm so sick of being in debt just like I'm tired of being overweight - so, I just say, how can I ever get out of debt if I keep spending? Just like, how can one ever lose weight if you keep eating the things that make you gain the weight. I use that type of reasoning."

"I ask myself, "How many hours do I have to work (after taxes) to pay for this item?" Then I ask myself, "Do I really want to spend x number of hours to pay for that? Is it worth all that work?" Usually the answer is no. Another question is "If I don't really NEED it, but want it, will it really make me any more contented with my life than I am now?" Am I buying it because my friend bought one or because I want to impress someone?"

"It's not really a question, but my dad's approach was to think overnight about anything over $50."

"They are bad----I buy because I love to give. I buy because I have 4 grandchildren who live out of town. I I buy because my husband of 33 years left me--and I 'reward/treat' myself sometimes because it has been hard for me to adjust to a new (much less money) lifestyle."

"If it works (or fits) there is no need to replace it just because it looks outdated. Retro is in."

"I like the column. I use those three principles all the time. Additionally, I think about one more. "What could I make off an investment (bonds, money market, stocks, etc) if I would simply save that extra money and go without something I want but don't need." I find myself buying things much too often that are out of pure desire, and with no necessary need. If I stick to your three principles, plus my fourth, I usually end up spending less and saving more!"


Please let me know your main buying-decision questions and reasoning:

Your comments or suggestions about the DebtSmart® Email Newsletter:

By submitting this form I agree that all its contents become the property of DebtSmart® and Press One Publishing. I also agree that DebtSmart, Press One Publishing, its assigns and licensees, have been granted the non-exclusive right to use and/or reproduce these comments  in any manner and for any purpose.

After you click on "Submit" you'll be returned to the DebtSmart® home page.



Subscribe FREE and start finding new ways to save money and pay off your debt.

"The DebtSmart Email Newsletter is packed with cutting-edge strategies for solving credit problems. I highly recommend it."--Gerri Detweiler, radio host and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook

NBC 10 News:
Money King Secrets
<Photos and Video>
Art Fennell Reports
<Photos and Video>
CNN: CNN Newsroom
<Photos and Video>
CNN: American Morning
<Photos and Video>
ABC: Action News
<Photos and Video>
CNN/fn: Your Money
<Photos and Video>
<See all Television Interviews>

Subscribe to the DebtSmart® RSS Feed
   Add to Google