13 Steps to Making a Big Purchase

13 Steps to Making a Big Purchase Picture

I’m in need of a new vacuum. Thanks to “Doggy-Who-Sheds-a-Lot” my carpets resemble a reddish shade of shag from the seventies.

No matter what I use on the carpet, I can’t get the hair up. My vacuum, though not that old, was purchased pre-shedding dog.  Let’s just say it doesn’t do much for the large amount of hair he loses each day (which is, it seems, enough to knit seven jackets in as many days). In order to get it all up, I would have to spend my time doing nothing but vacuuming. Which, of course, I can’t do.

But have you priced vacuums that work on dog hair lately?!

I spoke with a friend of mine from Louisiana the other day. She told me she bought a very popular brand of vacuum now that she has pets and it sucks up hair like a pro. She vacuumed with one cleaner and then right after used the super expensive cleaner and was amazed at how much hair she got up the second time around.

So I did a search for said vacuum cleaner and almost wet my pants when I saw the price. Let's just say it was about the amount of my monthly grocery budget, and I'm not joking.

Good Heavens, do I really have to spend THAT MUCH to suck up the dog hair? It would be much cheaper to simply shave the dog!

And what if I got it and didn't like it? That may be a stupid question to consider, but it’s how I go about analyzing all of my big money decisions.  And I think it’s realistic. Last year my mom decided to swap all of her stainless cooking pots and pans for non stick. She dropped more than a hundred dollars on a set, used them for a while, and then realized she’d made a mistake: she preferred her others. This week, after doing some research, she dropped yet another few hundred dollars to replace the cookware she had replaced last year!

For me, big purchases require a lot of thought, research, and advice from friends. I’m not alone. A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP showed 83% of consumers go online to research making purchases in specific areas, such as electronics and computers, before buying the items in a store. I do the same. I’ve spent so much time researching various vacuum cleaners you would think I’m interested in opening a vacuum cleaner store. I know what is considered a ‘good’ price for the cleaners I’m researching and what would be considered too high.

Still, a big purchase, like one over $100 (actually, for me, one over $50!), takes some time for me to make. I’m not yet ready to drop the money on a vacuum just yet. I want to ask a few more people with pets how THEY keep their carpets hair-free (can you chime in here? I’d love to know!). I’m ready to ask a few more people which vacuum cleaner they love. And I’m ready to wander a few stores to look at these cleaners in person. Lift them up. See if I like the way they look (yes, that DOES matter to me!). Make sure they aren’t too heavy, or too cheaply made.


To make a big purchase like this, I generally:

  1. Realize I need to do it.
  2. Scoff and complain and grumble about the cost.
  3. Research the products online from a variety of resources.
  4. Read reviews from past customers on Amazon and other sites.
  5. Visit the product a few times in various stores around my very small city.
  6. Research the problem online once more.
  7. Complain a lot.
  8. Consider if I really NEED to make that purchase or if I can get by without it. If I think I can do without, I give up the idea for a month or so and then revisit it after. Usually I figure if I haven't needed the item for a month I can let the idea go. But if I find I really, really, REALLY need that expensive item I . . .
  9. Call a few friends to see if they have used that item or have any recommendations.
  10. Research said product ONE MORE TIME.
  11. Buy it.
  12. Throw up from the amount of money that was spent.
  13. Use it repeatedly so I know I get my money's worth.

Okay, so I'm obsessive! Big purchases take time for me to make.

What about you? What was the last BIG ticket item you had to buy, and how long did you spend thinking about buying it before you actually made the purchase?

What do you think?

13 Steps to Making a Big Purchase

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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  1. bgirl says:

    I also have a pet that sheds like crazy! I have a Bissell Powerforce bagged vacuum. I have about 6 vacuums and this one is my favorite by far! Definitely the most powerful and the best part, it’s only $36 at walmart!

  2. MomAgain says:

    I feel your pain!!! I have 5 cats that predate my youngest. When she was born I had a 10+ year old hand-me-down vacuum that was being held together by duct tape. No joke. So when tax time came around a new cleaner was on my radar. I, like you, detest spending large amounts of money; and the anxiety it produces. So I soothe that by doing research. Lots and lots of research. And I am not afraid to return something if it turns out I don’t like it (as was the case with my first vacuum purchase). I am happy, for the most part, with the one I eventually chose, it gets the cat hair and dust and other detritus quite nicely and is very light. You can’t stop the beater bar, which is a bummer because I have a ton of ridiculous tile floor, but the upright came with a canister for that job. Not ideal, but it shall suffice. As far as I know this is the only of it’s kind – no competitors come bundled like that.


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