Skip to main content
Close save Save

Help me decide: Should I buy this?

Use tool, 3 minutes

Saving and spending decisions come up every day—enticing purchases or activities that make you ask, “Can I afford this?” Getting helpful guidance on these money decisions can be uniquely challenging because so much depends on your particular situation.

One way to figure out the right money move for you is to ask yourself a few key questions before you buy things. The interactive guide below will walk you through what to consider and share some tips and habits to help you reach the right decision for you.

Close Disclaimer

The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America Corporation and/or its affiliates assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment management. ©2024 Bank of America Corporation.

What to read next

Think one year out

You probably have several spending priorities in the near future: big purchases or trips coming up. When you don't have a regular income it's especially important to think about all of your goals together before you spend, so you can be sure you have enough set aside for the things that matter most to you. Ok, let's keep going!

Do you have a budget?

A budget is essentially a list of what money you’ll have each month and what you plan to save or spend it on.

Great! Budgeting is a key financial skill

Remember that as a general rule spending on Wants should be less than 30% of your budget.

50% needs, 30% wants, 20% saving and debt

Make time to build a budget

Creating a budget helps you see where your money is going and adjust so you can get the things that are really important to you. Look at all your potential spending together to help decide if this is a top priority.

Once you make this purchase, how will your savings look?

Making your savings a part of your spending decisions keeps you prepared for the unexpected.

Nice job maintaining your savings!

Depending on how many essentials you have to pay for each month—like bills or food—most people will want to have savings that cover 3+ months of expenses.

Keep enough set aside for emergencies

Depending on how many essentials you have to pay for each month—like bills or food—most people will want to have savings that cover 3+ months of expenses.

Have a plan to pay it off

Credit can be useful for purchases you plan to pay off right away but be sure you have a strategy for paying off the debt on time to avoid interest charges.

Always try to get a second opinion

You may be able to find what you’re looking for at a discount, to borrow or for free. Once you’ve done your due diligence, you can be confident you are getting the best deal.

So…will you buy it?

You’ve considered all the steps in making this decision. What do you think—are you going to buy it?

Congrats on thinking it through!

Taking time to consider your spending and saving decisions is a great money habit that you can use over and over again. Here’s a roundup of key things to think about:

  • Budgeting can start as simply as writing down where your money is coming from and where you expect it to be going each month.
  • Make a list of all your future spending goals so you can prioritize and save towards them.
  • For each big purchase, think about how your savings will look afterward and decide if you’re comfortable with that.

Check out more Better Money Habits® with these articles and tools to help brush up on your skills. That way, the next time you are thinking about buying something you want, you will be ready to spend!