19 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy Anything

If nobody was allowed to see it but you, would you still buy it?

Sadie Lee
Published in
5 min readDec 28, 2020


Person holding credit card while on laptop.
Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

I used to shop for all the wrong reasons — usually because I was anxious or bored, or because I’d just had a tough week and felt that I deserved something nice. I knew I needed help with my spending, which seemed to be at the mercy of my emotions and all those darn Instagram ads.

Eventually, I was able to break the habit by developing a system, one that pushed me to be more mindful about what I consume. Now, before I buy anything, I pause to ask a series of questions that force me to reckon honestly with how the potential purchase fits into my life. In addition to saving me money, these questions have helped me learn to delay gratification and trust my own judgment — these days, whenever I hand over my credit card or click “purchase” (a rare event these days), I can be confident that I’m doing it for the right reasons.

Here’s the list. Perhaps the questions will be helpful for you the next time you visit your shopping cart.

Think of the item’s home

Where will the item live?

Where exactly will that bright-pink perfume bottle fit in your minimalist white bathroom? Can you clearly picture the spot for it?

Where will this item be in five years?

Will you still be using those bread-baking supplies that everyone’s buying in quarantine, or will they end up in the back of a drawer or in a landfill?

Is this item something you’re specifically seeking out or something you just stumbled on?

Did you come to this website in specific pursuit of snowshoes to replace your old ones, or were you just browsing the internet with no purpose in mind?

If you had to leave your house with one duffle bag of your possessions, would this item be it in?

Is this item something you need, or is it another piece of clutter that will hold little daily value?

How often will this



Sadie Lee
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