Money at 30: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Large Purchase The 5 Step Process to Determine If a Major Purchase Is Worth It

Money at 30: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Large Purchase

Gold scales and auction hammer. I don’t know about you but spending money scares me. While I used to buy items with reckless abandon and throw down hard-earned cash for whatever caught my fancy, my frugal 30s have taught me to think long and hard before parting with my funds.

Our most recent big-ticket purchase came just a few days ago when my wife and I decided to pony up for Annual Passports to Walt Disney World. While these little beauties will earn us free parking at the resort, discounts on food and merchandise, and 365 days of potential admission, they also weren’t cheap ($1,800 for the pair). As a result, we asked ourselves a number of important questions before pulling the trigger.

With that, I wanted to share five evaluation questions I believe everyone should themselves before making a big purchase:

1) Can you afford it?

This is an obvious one — if you can’t afford to buy something, you shouldn’t buy it. Of course there may be emergency cases where you don’t really have a choice in the matter. That’s where the next question comes in.

2) Is it essential?

“Essential” is a word that can mean many things to many people. For example, having a car might be considered an essential need to some, even though public transit, ride sharing, and cabs might technically be options. Because of this, while it may not be easy to determine what is essential and what isn’t, you should be honest with yourself when making the distinction. Moreover, just because something isn’t essential doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t worth buying.

In our case, it would be pretty hard to argue that Disney passes are must-haves. Thus, we continue down the list of evaluation prompts.

3) Will it save you money?

Often times big purchases aren’t just major splurges but investments in the future. Whether you’re buying new items or upgrading existing tools, you may be able to increase efficiency, encourage thriftier habits, or enjoy other benefits that lead to savings. An oft-cited example of this concept is updating your home to energy efficient lighting and insulation as a way to lower your home’s energy bill.

Going back to our Walt Disney World passes, my wife and I could make a legitimate case that these will save us money in the long run. Everyone needs a vacation once in a while, so why not take ours at Disney? By buying Annual Passports, we’re really just preparing for future trips and saving money on a per-day basis, right? That’s true, although one could easily argue that there are still far cheaper vacations to be had and they’d be right. So is it worth it? That’s up to you — and leads to our next evaluation question.

4) What value does it offer?

Even if having some big-ticket items might not directly save you money, there may still be significant value to them. This could potentially include health benefits, saved time, or reduced stress. In fact, value can be perceived by different people in different ways and will depend heavily on their values and priorities.

Looking once again to our Disney purchase, the value to us is the ability to visit our Orlando friends and hang out at a place we all love. This isn’t to say that our friendship is contingent on touring theme parks, but is great to share in the fun together. Therefore, while they might not have been “must haves” by any means, the monetary and personal value the passes offered us justified their expense in our minds.

5) Could you get it cheaper?

Finally, once you’ve decided on buying something, the last thing to ask yourself is whether you’re getting a good deal. This could mean comparing prices from different outlets and retailers or, in some cases, rethinking the model or specific items you had your eye on. Beyond that, you might also consider looking to used (or “pre-owned” as they like to say now) or refurbished items that can often allow you to get great items at deep discounts. That said, you’ll also want to do your research on used items to ensure they offer the same protections as buying new.

Once you’ve assured yourself you’re getting the best deal, congratulations! With your evaluation complete, you can now complete your purchase with no guilt and enjoy the benefits it will bring — just like we’ll be enjoying our trips to Walt Disney World in the coming year.


Making large purchases can certainly be exciting but, at times, it can also be quite scary. From pondering if you can afford something to questioning the difference between “want” and “need” to wondering if you’re really getting a good deal, there’s a lot to think about. Hopefully taking the time to ask yourself these five questions will help you through the process and lead you in the right financial direction.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Money@30's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

snowed in house

Lessons From a First-Time Home Buyer: Surviving Our First Winter

One major difference between Springfield, Missouri and my previous city of residence (Glendale, California) is that, here, we have these things called "seasons." Furthermore, unlike a California winter where you might have to put on a sweater when it dips into the 40s, we do see snow, ice, and occasional sub-zero temperatures here in the Midwest. In turn, when we bought our home in whirlwind fashion, I knew we'd immediately...
loading luggage

American Airlines Announces Checked Baggage Fee Hikes

A major domestic airline recently announced increased baggage fees for customers. About AA's new baggage policies: American Airlines is increasing its checked bag fees in a few ways. Now, customers on domestic flights (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rice, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will need to pay $35 for their first checked bag when booked online or $40 if purchased at the airport. A second checked bag for these flights...
relaxing at a pool watching a streaming app

How to Maximize All of the American Express Platinum Card Credits

Whenever I tell people that I pay $695 a year for a credit card, I get kind of a weird look. Said looks grows even stranger when I then explain how I even save/make money with that same card. The product in question is the American Express Platinum card, which I've held since 2019. The truth is that, despite that fee, the numerous credits and perks that the card offers...
The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

FedEx Announces Winners of 11th Annual 2023 Small Business Grant Contest

Nearly three months after the entry period ended, FedEx has announced the winners of its 11th annual Small Business Grant Content. This year's event saw more than $300,000 in funds going to a variety of small businesses across the nation. Last month, the company revealed 100 finalists, with that list now being narrowed down to just 10 winners. This year's grand prize winners included KindVR, The Cupcake Collection, Up In...
H-E-B and Central Market  credit cards

Imprint Launches Credit Cards from H-E-B and Central Market 

The FinTech Imprint is partnering with the popular Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B for a pair of new rewards credit cards. This week saw the launch of the H-E-B Visa Signature Credit Card as well as the Central Market Visa Signature Credit Card. With these two (nearly identical) options, customers will be able to earn rewards on groceries and beyond. First, both versions of the card earn up to 5% back on select...
Summer app

Student Loan Benefit FinTech Summer Raises $6 Million

For years, student debt has been one of the most talked about financial topics. What's more, while the debt itself has become a major part of many Americans' lives, discussion of student loans has become political due to efforts to forgive certain loan repayments. However, while we wait for resolution on that front, a FinTech that brings student debt benefit solutions to employers and consumers has raised a new round...
Choice Privileges Select Card

Choice Hotels, Wells Fargo Debut Choice Privileges Select Card

With spring well underway and the summer travel season now just around the corner, Choice Hotels and Wells Fargo have unveiled their latest co-branded credit card offering. Today, the two companies announced the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard. Carrying an annual fee of $95, this card will serve as the premium option in the hotel brand's new lineup. Looking at the Choice Privileges Select, it offers a mix of rewards categories....
Melissa Urban holding a Ness card

Health and Wellness Rewards Card Ness Partners with Whole30

In recent years, several unique rewards cards have come to market. These include offerings from FinTech startups as well as brands looking to do something special for their loyal fans. On that note, a recently-announced rewards credit card offering is now working with a popular brand to introduce new benefits for customers. This week, the Ness Card (which is issued by The Bank of Missouri) unveiled a new partnership with...