When I’m looking to buy a new piece for a room, whether it’s a big item like a couch or something as small as an art print, I always go through a regimented price point process to determine what I am willing to spend on that item. Now, everyone makes these decisions differently and that is good! And, we are all in different places in our lives financially, emotionally, and in our decorating process. But, I’d like to share my process of deciding how much mullah I’m wiling to fork out for my next purchase in hope that it may help some of you come to this decision easier and be able to stick to (because sticking to our budget is half the battle isn’t it?)
How I Decide my Purchase Item Budget
When it comes to money, I tend to be extremely conservative with my spending. If it’s possible to find something similar at a cheaper price point, you can bet I will find it. This can make the process a little more lengthy than a quick trip to the store to pick out all your furnishing (which does has a time and place). But, in the end, I find that the item is that much more satisfying and leaves me with a sense of pride that I found a beautiful piece I love that didn’t break the budget.
Step 1: Spitball a Number
Yes, the very first thing I do is pull a totally arbitrary number out of my head that I think I want to pay for this item. This serves several purposes. First, it gives a starting point. Once I have a number that I can adjust higher or lower as the process continues. I find that if I don’t start with any number at all, my budget can bounce around some extreme highs and lows. Secondly, this number is the approximate amount of money that this item is worth to you. In other words, this is what you are willing to pay to get that new shiny thang. Knowing this number in the beginning will keep you grounded and prevent you from going way out of the ballpark when the item is not worth it to you or your wallet.
Step 2: Get a Feel for a General Price Range
Now that you have your starting point number, it’s time to find out if your number is remotely feasible. For some items, you may already have a pretty good idea of their going rate. But, I find that doing some research always adds value to my decision. The price point may be different for the particular type of item you are looking for, or it could have changed since the last time you looked.
So, I do a quick google search for the item at hand to see what it’s going for new. You don’t have to find the exact perfect item, just a good sampling of similar ones so you can gather a range. After google searching, I usually try a second-hand search as well to see if I can find what I’m looking for used at a reduced rate. Depending on the item I’ll look on Ebay, Craigslist, or Bookoo (my latest discovery!). ‘Market value’ is a little more tough to determine on these sites because there is a greater variance from seller to seller, and sometimes they list things for next to nothing! Still you can find a general feel for the going rate for a used item.
Step 3: Re-assess your Number
You started with an informative hunch of a number, then you researched it’s reasonableness. Do you need to adjust now that you have more information? I find that sometimes my initial guess was pretty close and therefore changing it would be messing with the amount I’m actually willing to pay, so I keep it as is. Other times I realize my number is nowhere near the range that the item goes for and I have to reassess the purchase and price point I set.
If the range is lower than my original number, then Hallelujah! This is a cause for celebration!!! Although this is rarely the case for me (and if it happens too often for you, you may want to think about why you are picking numbers that are higher than market value) if I am lucky enough that the item typically sells for under my starting price point, I will generally adjust my price point down to the mid-high range of market value. That way I still get plenty of variety in choice but save a little more money than I anticipated!
What’s much more often the case, is that my starting point was grossly underestimated and the only way it would ever work is by some Craigslist miracle (they do exist, by the way). At this point, I usually reevaluate my want for the item. Why do I want it? Do I need it? Why aren’t I willing to pay market value for it? Depending on the answers to those questions I will decide one of the following:
I don’t need to purchase that item at all
At this point, I am done with the decision process, I didn’t really want/need the item that bad, therefore I will not waste my money on it
I will try and make my own for cheaper
Ok, my buying decision process is over, but now I must begin creative brainstorming on how to craft this item myself
I will find an alternative item instead
If I decide to purchase a different item to meet the same needs, either I go back to Step 1 if the item is substantially different, or just back to Step 2 if it generally functions the same as the original item.
I am willing to pay more than I initially thought
In this case, I will adjust my price point higher, but usually to the very bottom of the market value range I researched in Step 2, or possibly very low in the used range.
Step 4: Begin the Buying Process
Now that I’ve adjusted my price point according to a general knowledge of market value this becomes my top dollar. Once I’ve decided that I should be able to find what I want for a certain price, I (generally) will not go any higher because I know that if I do, I’ll feel like I could have gotten a better deal.
But, just because I have a price ceiling does not mean that my target price is fixed at this point. It can adjust down during my hunt for the item. How I shop for items is a whole other post, but generally I like to explore lots of different options (used, new, Ebay, in-store clearance, sales, and more). While going through the decision process, I always keep price point in mind. If I find one or two items that are almost what I’m looking for at a lower price point, I like to adjust down my number. This will definitely make the search more challenging! But, it will also prevent me from ever overpaying on an item (which we all know is an awful feeling).
When I find that perfect item (and you better believe that price is a large factor in what makes my item perfect), I will know that I got the best deal possible…. hopefully a crazy awesome deal that I can brag to all my friends about 😉 How satisfying is it, to know you got exactly what you were looking for, and you didn’t spend a dime more than it is worth to you? (And hopefully it was many dollars less!) Maybe you’ve learned something for my crazy purchase price point process that can help you with future buys, that or you are judging me for my insane purchasing logic, which I own up to fully! 😉