How to Decide if You Should Make a Big Purchase

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 06/11/12 •  5 min read

Thanks to everyone who made last week’s launch of Hacking the High Life such a success!  There are still a couple spots left for our intro webinar on Thursday, so check it out if you’re interested!

There’s a common misconception that all of those who are location independent, or do a lot of traveling, are minimalists.

I can tell you with absolute certainty, I am not a minimalist.

There’s nothing wrong with tiny houses, 100 things, and the constant battle to see who can get by with less stuff – it’s just not for me.

I realized this yesterday, as I finally came full circle, and bought something that three years ago, I was desperately trying to sell: a car.

For the last year I’ve battled with the idea of having a car.  I live in downtown Portland, where it’s very easy to get around 90% of the time.  I can walk or take the Max just about anywhere I want to go.  That said, every so often you stumble into the great inconvenience that the bus, zip car, and my own two legs just aren’t cut out for.

Lately those moments have been more and more common.

So I finally did it, I went out and bought a car.

For a little while I actually felt pangs of guilt around it.  So many people in our “world” have sworn off automobiles completely, and look down upon those who pick up the gas-guzzling machines (and unfortunately, mine really lives up it’s gas-guzzling reputation).

For awhile I was starting to think maybe I was a minimalist.  Selling my car and taking nothing but a small backpack halfway across the world for six-months? “Of course, I’m a minimalist!” I would think to myself…

Then I came back and reality hit me.  I still like to have three pairs of jeans.  I enjoy having a set of golf clubs which for some, that alone would constitute about 25% of your allotted 100 things.  To put it simply, I like having things that allow me to do the things I like to do.

I wrestled long and hard with the decision to purchase a car.  And you know what finally pushed me over the edge?  The fact that it is enabling me to do the things I truly enjoy on a more regular basis.

I’m fortunate enough to have built a business where I can be flexible and take time off in the middle of a Tuesday.  If I want to head out to the golf course, or take off to the mountains for a day of skiing or biking, I had the time, yet didn’t have much in the way of mobility.

Yes I understand there are always ways to do these things without a car, but most are expensive and time consuming.  So this was the best decision for me at the moment.

Want it? Go Get It

I talk to a lot of people who are afraid to spend money.  Even if they have it, they are terrified of what happens if their income dries out, they get laid off, or otherwise struggle to pay their bills.

Even I’m not immune to these feelings.  There’s always that voice in the back of your head that says “what happens if I never make another sale” or “what happens if I can’t come up with any more good business ideas”.  There have been times where I’ve let those voices get in the way of what I really want.

This week I finally said, I’ve worked hard, I want to be able to do the things I enjoy doing, so I’m going to do them.

I bought a car, and I don’t feel guilty, scared, or concerned that it was a poor decision.  It may not have been right for those of you with nothing but a toothpick and a pair of boxers in your backpack, but I’m pretty stoked about it.

What’s the moral of this story?

Is there something you’ve been thinking long and hard about buying? Something you really want, that will make your life better in one way or another? If so, you should probably just go out and buy whatever it is you want.

I’m notorious for analyzing the hell out of big purchases.  In the end, I almost always make the purchase, and never once have I regretted it.  Never once has it ever had a catastrophic impact on my finances, and more often than not, the worst case is you can always sell it in the future.

If you’ve put that much thought into something, you probably have a good reason for doing so.

This goes into selling things as well.  I put a lot of thought into selling my car back in 2009.  Was it a tough decision? Yeah, but I knew it was the right thing to do.  Maybe you’re considering putting your house on the market, but aren’t sure if it’s the right time.  If getting rid of the house will make you happier in the long run, just do it.

I’m not advocating for irresponsible financial decisions, but rather for taking responsibility for your own happiness – even if it means taking a financial hit.

Whatever it is, a plane ticket across the world, a new car, an online course, hell even an iphone.  Just get it.  In the end you’ll be happy you did, and you’ll free up all that mental energy to focus on something that really matters.

You know, like whether or not you should layup or go for the green in two.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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