Friday, April 11, 2008


Trap #1:
"All my friends have it!"

Trap #2:
"I want to be like my favourite celebrity!"

Trap #3:

All of us have fallen into these traps at one time or another. It's only normal to want to fit in with our friends, or possess the latest or coolest or best things.

But why just hand over your power to make decisions to your friends, your idol or the brand?

If all your friends are buying the latest mobile phone with lots of features like camera, WiFi and MP3 player, BUT you really don't like taking pictures, prefer to surf the net using your laptop which has a screen and keyboard which you find way more comfortable, and you already have a very good MP3 player which you find very convenient to use. Should you also just blindly spend $500 on that mobile phone when you can probably get a great mobile phone for $100 which fits your needs better?

So what if your hero is endorsing a particular type of sneakers? He or she is being paid to wear the thing. You decide for yourself whether it's for YOU.

As for brands, yes, some brands do offer great value even if they are really expensive. Their products are the result of great craftsmanship, creativity/uniqueness and innovativeness. And it's right that we should pay for such a great product, if we can afford it. But, nowadays, just as many brands slap their name on a rather generic product, and you end up paying a lot just for the addition of their name. For example, if you need a basic white tee, look for a good-quality non-branded one. Nobody will be able to tell the difference. Another danger when basing purchasing decision on the brand is that you run a high risk of buying something fugly just because a 'cool' brand tells that's the in thing this season.

That's not to say that you shouldn't look for cues from your friends, from celebrities, or from top brands. For example, if Clay Aiken tells you that "Kite Runner" is a great book, look it up on the internet. What are the reviews like? Does the book sound like something you'd like to read? What do other readers think about it?

In other words, ask the right questions so that what you buy suits the unique person that you are. It's your money. Only YOU get to decide how you spend it. Why let outside forces dictate and control what you buy?

So ask yourself:
1. Can I or my family afford it?
2. Is it within my budget?
3. Is there a similar item available that offers more value for money?
4. Does it suit my personality, personal style and taste?
5. Does it suit your lifestyle?
6. Does it fit my unique needs?

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