24 Dec Top 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Buy
Are you aware of your buying habits? Are you the sort of person who plans and researches before spending? Do you consider the impact of your spending? Do you seek out quality products when you buy?
More than ever we’re becoming aware that as consumers we have the responsibility to buy thoughtfully and with a conscience. Increasingly we’re told that there are many things we should consider before making purchase decisions. What does the brand stand for? What are its ethical practices and environmental record?
From where we see it, assessing the quality of things before you buy is important not only so you can invest your money in products with integrity, but also so you can do it while thinking about you impact on the wider world.
1. How is the product made?
You usually don’t have to dig too far to find out a few basic facts about the background of a brand. Retailers are increasingly being held to account for the products they stock and the story behind how they’re made.
It’s worth noting that many large global brands now claim to stock some lines of ethical and sustainable clothing while continuing to stock other lines that still use manufacturing facilities in third world countries that pay workers poorly, locate them in unsafe working conditions and produce products made with little care for the environment.
Look out for companies selling very cheap products. Chances are they’re cheap for a reason – often the wrong reason.
2. Who’s selling the product?
Brands all have their own independent reputations. It’s always safer and better to buy from brands you know are socially responsible.
The best way to find out how socially responsible a company is through an independent third party’s opinion. There are companies that provide corporate social responsibility information about most big corporations.
They also give ratings based on things like the company’s environmental impact, their treatment of workers and what they do for the broader community. This gives you an overall idea of how a company stands and helps you decide because socially responsible companies generally produce better quality products for society.
3. What’s the product’s lifespan?
Part of the quality assessment involves working out how long the product will last.
When you buy garments you need to examine design, stitching and material.
If it’s a tech gadget, check to see if it’s made of cheap plastic and how it feels. In the absence of trusted brand you will have to trust your instinct. Again – if it’s cheap it’s probably low quality.
When it comes to buying online you may not be able to physically examine the product but you can go through reviews to find out what other users have said. It’s also worth examining social media platforms to see if the brand is legit and has a solid following of engaged fans.
4. Do I really need it?
This is a very important question to ask because many people buy things for reasons other than necessity. Impulse buying is the most common reason and can also quickly lead to buyer remorse.
There’s no point buying something available at 50% off if you don’t need it or if it’s something of poor quality. Many a time it’s the poor quality products that end up on the discount table. Ever noticed that many top quality brands don’t even go on sale?
If you can’t afford to buy a high quality product you need now, would you be prepared to save up and purchase it once you have the money? Sounds very old fashioned right? Something your Mum or Dad might have told you as a kid when you desperately wanted the latest toy. These days we’ve all been trained to think in the mindset that if we want something then we deserve to have it right now.
While you’re out shopping, the best way to avoid impulse purchases is to walk around the store before heading straight to the cashier and take time to think about what’s in your trolley. If you’re online – save your shopping to your basket and come back later to decide if you really need it.
5. Will you use it?
How many times have you have purchased something you think you might need at some point in the future? Never buy for future possible needs – stockpiling can become a very dangerous habit for your home and your wallet.
Shopping is easier than ever with huge online marketplaces happy to deliver your items with no shipping charges in crazy timeframes. If you have a tendency to over buy excessively on poor quality items then stay away from online shopping altogether.
We should keep reminding ourselves that buying quality products at the point they are needed it is always the wiser proposition. When you find yourself needing to make a purchase be sure to stick these two important words – need and quality – at the top of your mind and at the front of your shopping trolley. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.