The question I'm asking today isn't whether or not we should have stuff, it's whether or not we should buy something if we can afford the payment.
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If I Can Afford The Payment, Should I Buy It?

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The question I'm asking today isn't whether or not we should have stuff, it's whether or not we should buy something if we can afford the payment.Our society has taught us that we can have anything we want right when we want it. If you don’t believe me, just check out McDonald’s slogan – What you want is what you get. And, Burger King has also jumped on the bandwagon with Your Way, Right Away.

The question I’m asking today isn’t whether or not we should have stuff, it’s whether or not we should buy something if we can afford the payment.

With the exception of a home purchase, for me the answer is very simple – no. Now, before you tune me out or click off of the page, please hear me out.

The Tale of My Timeshare

Years ago my first husband and I bought a timeshare together (whether or not you should buy a timeshare is definitely a post for another day). Before our purchase, we looked at our finances to see if we could make it work. We did the math, moved a few things around and realized we could afford the payment. So, we signed on the dotted line.

Fast forward not even a year later when he decided that there were greener pastures and left me for his girlfriend. (You can read more of my story here.) Not only was my world rocked emotionally, but it was financially too. Now we had this crazy timeshare and neither of us wanted it, nor wanted to pay for it.

What if we had paid cash?

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Getting the Axe

My friends decided to re-decorate their living room. They went to the furniture store, picked out a few pieces that they couldn’t live without and signed on the dotted line. They had no problem making their payments until a few months later when they were let go from their job. Suddenly their furniture payment wasn’t as important as their house payment, or even food on the table.

What if they had paid cash?

Scenarios like the two above happen every day. We tell ourselves that we need a certain item (stuff) and then figure out how we can get it right now. While we currently have the money to make the payments, what happens if tragedy strikes? What happens if we’re no longer able to pay our bills and stuck with payments for our stuff?

Years ago, had I been smart enough not to buy a timeshare, I would have saved myself tons of hassle and heartache. I wouldn’t have been stressed about how I was going to make the payment during an already difficult situation.

And, while I haven’t asked them, I’m sure my friends would agree that not having a furniture payment would have lessened their stress while looking for a job.

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What if we saved up and paid cash for our stuff?

It may sound crazy, but I think that our lives are less stressful when we pay cash for our stuff. Proverbs 22:7 even says, “…the borrower is slave to the lender.” If we would learn to pay cash for our stuff, if tragedy strikes, we wouldn’t have to worry about payments.

I don’t have any problem with anyone having stuff. In fact, if you looked around our house, you’d see that Trent and I have plenty of our own. Simply put, I want you to learn from my mistake and get your stuff the smart way – by paying cash. Yes, I’m aware that you won’t be able to get it right now, but having to wait will make you appreciate that special item even more!

What are your thoughts? Do you think we should buy it if we can afford the payment?

Thrifty T

Photo credit: Top image, middle image, bottom image

16 Comments

  1. Martha
    Martha10-13-2013

    Thank you!! This helped so much. You put it into perspective for me!! Thanks!!

    • Tshanina
      Tshanina10-14-2013

      Martha, I’m so glad this article helped it “click” for you!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings
    Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings10-16-2013

    The answer seems so simple to me when it comes to renting big TV’s or putting items on layaway, but when it’s a larger purchase like a car, it’s easier for me to just make the payments. We are at the point where our car is now paid off and we are hoping to have enough saved up to purchase either a 2nd car, because we really don’t want that loan hanging over our heads again!

    • Tshanina
      Tshanina10-17-2013

      Hi Kalyn Brooke! I agree that it’s so much easier to go into debt for those large purchases. But really, those are the items that we can save so much on by not paying all that interest.

      Congrats for paying off your car, and for having enough saved for a second! You’re way ahead of most people!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  3. Alma @ A Conquered Mess
    Alma @ A Conquered Mess10-22-2013

    I completely agree with you. I’m a SAHM and my husband does temporary jobs. He gets paid very well when he’s working but he can be out of a job up to 6 months at a time. Needless to say if we’re not prepared that can wreak havoc on our finances. Except for the house and cars, we don’t get into debt for anything… no matter how much we want it. We’ve learned our lessons the hard way and although we’ve learned to manage our money well, I’ll think hard before I sign for a car again. I hate the pressure having payments.

    • Tshanina Peterson
      Tshanina Peterson10-24-2013

      Hi Alma! I’ve never had a fluctuating income, but I can only imagine how much more organized you have to be with your budget. I love that your family is making your situation work!

      And you’re right, having payments is a lot of pressure!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Lindsey
    Lindsey11-20-2013

    I know this wasn’t the point of your post but I need to ask. .. How did you get out of your timeshare??? My grandmother have us hers and my husband and I are in the process of eliminating our debt and the timeshare needs to go! Any tips would be wonderful! Thank you in advance!

    • Tshanina
      Tshanina11-21-2013

      Hi Lindsey! I wish I had a magic wand that I could waive for you to make your timeshare disappear. Sadly, though, I don’t!

      I’m not sure if you know where/who your grandmother bought it from, but I recommend giving them a call to ask if they’ll sell it for you. Offer them a double commission as an incentive. This is how I sold mine! I didn’t make any money when I sold it, but was super ecstatic to just be rid of the crazy thing!

      I wish you the best on selling yours! Please keep me posted as I’d love to know who you get out of yours!

  5. Wani
    Wani02-03-2014

    Made me think of this SNL sketch with Steve Martin. So ridiculous its hilarious!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qesFpsi2mII

    • Tshanina Peterson
      Tshanina Peterson02-03-2014

      That’s sadly funny Wani! Thanks for sharing and giving me a laugh!

  6. Quincy @ Kittnen Designs
    Quincy @ Kittnen Designs02-03-2014

    My husband and I pay ahead on our monthly payments and always figure the huge payments into the budget. (For instance, my car payment is $380 a month, but we always pay $500.) That way, if we’re going to be a little short one month, we can just pay the regular amount instead and not be penalized in any way, and we also pay things off a lot quicker with less interest payments.

    • Tshanina Peterson
      Tshanina Peterson02-04-2014

      High five for paying extra on your payments, Quincy! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kim Anderson
    Kim Anderson02-10-2014

    When I was fresh out of college and had no idea who Dave Ramsey was I would have said, “Sure!” Now that I’m older and wiser I don’t think that you should take out loans on anything unless it’s a house you can afford. I guess some people “have” to due to various circumstances so I’m not judging, I’m just saying if you can avoid it, do! My friend is in real trouble right now because she could afford her car payments about 8 months ago and then her job changed and now she can’t. She is barely able to keep her head above water right now. That’s the main reason I think it’s wise to pay cash up front for as much as you can. “I can afford it right now” can change in the blink of an eye.

    • Tshanina Peterson
      Tshanina Peterson02-10-2014

      I totally agree, “if you can avoid it, do.”

      I hope your friend gets back on her feet.

      Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!

  8. Amber
    Amber02-23-2017

    I completely agree with you!! It has taken me a while to understand that but I’m slowing getting there. I just recently paid off all of my credit cards and it’s awesome!!! I’m really working on getting my finances together. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Tshanina Peterson
      Tshanina Peterson02-26-2017

      High five to you for paying off your credit cards, Amber. You should be so proud of yourself!!!

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