As the digital marketplace continues to expand, we can practically buy anything we want from around the world. Virtual banking and user-friendly websites make it easy to buy spices from Bangkok or croissants from Paris whenever the need strikes us. But the luxury of choice can become a burden for many people, and it can easily be difficult to know if you’re making a smart purchase.

If you find yourself constantly regretting the purchases you make, you haven’t been shopping smart. Before pulling out your credit card and spending money willy-nilly, take the time to do your research. Not sure where to start? Every time you get ready to shop, use these tips to determine whether or not it’s a smart purchase.

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Establish Your Criteria

Separate your needs from your wants. You might need a new TV with an HDMI port, but you might want a new TV with 4K resolution. Understanding the differences between what you need and want will help you narrow down your purchase if you’re deciding between multiple items. Be as specific as possible so you know what you are gaining from this purchase, and then hunt down exactly the right product.

Commit to A Budget

If you don’t set a budget, you can be sure you’ll spend more than you intended. Sticking to a budget will keep you in check and help you make the final decision.

Start Looking Early

Whatever you do, try not to make an impulse purchase. Just like you should avoid going to the grocery store on an empty stomach, do not put yourself in a position where you will buy the first thing you see. Instead, shop around for a little while before deciding. Visit stores online and in person to see what options you have. If this is a big enough purchase for you consider it as an investment, you need to take the time to make sure you know your options.

Compare

Make a mental or physical assessment of the different products that have stuck out to you. You can even make a pros and cons list to compare features and prices with the intent of matching them to the criteria you established earlier. Look at the price range of similar products on the market, and see where the item you’re looking at fits in. Whether comparing health insurance plans or airline tickets, evaluating each option is the way to go.

Quality Check

Price does not always represent quality. Did you know that brand name items are often made the exact same way as their less expensive counterparts? Just because it’s pricey doesn’t mean it fulfills your standards of quality. If anything, finding out that it’s poorly made is more heartbreaking when you’ve overpaid. Always do research on whether or not the pricey items are worth the cost.

Read the Reviews

Taking the time to see what other buyers have to say can educate you on whether the product will meet your expectations. Use review videos to your advantage. If you’re thinking of buying a MVMT watch, check out an MVMT watches review before making your decision. Unlike ad campaigns, reviews will give you a better understanding of what the product looks and feels like.

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Don’t Get Sucked in by Sales

Sales are a marketing tactic to get customer to spend. Don’t be fooled! Sales encourage you to buy things you don’t need. Take a breath before you buy anything at all, because chances are you can live without it. One thing’s for certain—you can live without the credit card debt a reckless purchase could incur.

Consider the Full Price

What you read on the price tag does not always reflect the full amount you will be paying. If you’re buying online, check the shipping price before you commit. Be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals that often come with hidden fees. If you use credit or other financing, add the amount of interest you will have to pay if you don’t end up paying on time. If you choose a payment plan or must cover a monthly subscription, multiply the price by 12 to see its yearly value and whether or not you can afford it.

Think of Money Over Time

Speaking of the long game, think about how often you will use the product you’re looking to buy. Then, divide the price so it represents how much you’re spending a day on it. This will make the price more tangible and digestible. Remember that quality items can last years, even decades.

Time is your best friend when you’re considering making a purchase. Before making any rash decisions, take a minute and go through these steps before opening up your wallet. The goal is to be more satisfied with everything you buy—and not to drain your bank account in the process.

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