Tricks to Help Deal with Unaffordable Purchases

by David Ning · 9 comments

Whether it’s a lavish lifestyle, a luxury experience or an exotic products, we have all desired something unaffordable. Sometimes, just the fact that it’s unattainable makes us want it even more. How do we cope with it when it happens? Here’s my version of this last night.

Off and on, my wife and I would look at houses. No, we don’t plan to buy one yet, but we are slowly narrowing our focus by learning about our preferences.

Last night, we saw an area that we really liked. It might be the views, it could be just the photos of the house or it’s possibly the school district, Two things for sure though – we fell in love with it and the selling price was too high.

Okay, so it’s $200,000 (at least) over our tentative budget. In many areas of the country, you can actually buy a whole house with that lump sum.

Then I thought about this some more, and realize that it’s not the end of the world. I came up with several remedies to deal with unaffordable purchases.

  1. Figure Out What that Experience Gets You – Knowledge is half the battle. Know what that expense will get you go a long way in understanding whether it’s really necessary. Does that Porsche or Gucci bag fundamentally make your life better?
  2. What About Alternatives – Does the extra $200,000 dollar, or $1,400 per month for 30 years (approx. with 6% interest and 1.25% property taxes) bring you more joy other than the instant gratification? With that sort of cash, you can pay for tons of “instant gratifications”. Is that better?
  3. Search Your Past Experience – It’s not the first time this occurred. What happened when you fell victim to your impulses before? Has it worked out or did the excitement die down with you holding the huge bill? Was there no regrets about it or did you really wish you hadn’t take the plunge? Organizing your thoughts can sometimes give you the answer you are looking for. At the very least, it will give you an insight into what works or doesn’t work for you.
  4. Know Your Goals in the Outset – If the purchase is necessary and you are just looking at a product that is too expensive, knowing your goals with this purchase really helps. The reason why I want a house is for stability and a comfortable place to raise a family. Does that extra $200,000 get me that or is it merely bigger and thicker granite counter tops?
  5. You Can Still Afford it, Someday – As my mom once said, “it’s not where you are but where you are going that matters”. You might not be able to afford it now but what’s to say that you cannot afford it in the future? Maybe flying that private jet to Paris is just the motivation you need to achieve your financial goals.
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  • San says:

    Wonderful article, specially during such times where economy is swinging between downturn and growth. I pray to God, for right concepts strike my mind at the right instant while making such purchases.

  • dealing with expensive things is the most important thing in personal finance. It shoud be learned. It is one of the main causes of economics rows

  • marci says:

    Nope – these are all decent homes in decent areas with decent neighbors, etc. I even have city services such as a bus line, hospital 10 blocks away, court house 8 blocks away, and grocery store, library, and post office all in walking distance. But it is a SMALL town. But it is rural america 🙂 Luv it.

  • Pev says:

    That’s very true it does depend where you live marci, but buying 2 whole houses for that kind of money is usually where noone wants to live.

  • marci says:

    In our area of the country you can actually buy 2 whole houses for that kind of money 🙂 Depends on where ya live 🙂

    Good article. If you want something bad enough tho, you will find either a way to afford it, or an alternative that will suit your needs just as well as the original. Or Time will change your mind on it entirely. Keep on looking 🙂

  • Moneymonk says:

    “Maybe flying that private jet to Paris is just the motivation you need to achieve your financial goals”

    good way to put it.

    I always say how can I afford it, instead just giving up. That’s makes a big difference. It forces you to think and create ways to go forth

  • Greg says:

    Great post. I’m just beginning my search for a car (my first), and I had the exact same thoughts running through my mind.

  • Neal Frankle says:

    This is an interesting and important concept. You give great ideas on dealing with this issue.

    I was faced with this when I bought my last house. I did not go for the larger home and was glad I didn’t. Financially, I could have afforded it and in the long run, I’d have made more money. But, at the time I made the decision, I was stressed because I was growing my business. I may have made more money but I would have had less enjoyment – because of the stress.

    Thanks for the subject. Well done.

  • I’ve been there before. Most of my lust of expensive things is with cars. I’d love to have a BMW 335 coupe, but I know it won’t be as fantastic as I want it to be. Knowing it won’t be as great keeps me from being dumb enough to try and get one. But at the same time I pursue making more money and saving money, so that someday the car’s cost would just be a drop in the bucket for me.

    My fiance is like you with houses, I’m sure I will be someday as well.

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