Avoiding buyer's remorse when it comes to discretionary spending - that's the topic of a great article by Kathryn Benedicto. Kathryn runs the Simple Living SF South Bay/Peninsula Yahoo group and can always be counted on for great information and insight.
Here are a few snippets from her article; read the whole article at the Simple Living Network.
Is the purchase related to a new activity or hobby? If so, avoid falling prey to the "new hobby" syndrome—the one where you've just taken up knitting and are all fired up with enthusiasm and good intentions and buy four pairs of knitting needles and fifteen skeins of yarn to knit sweaters for everyone in your family...and half a year later, the yarn is sitting in the back of your closet and you haven't picked up a knitting needle for months. Start small with new hobbies and don't over-invest.
Will you have the time to use your purchase? No, really...be honest. As much as I try to simplify, my schedule is still pretty full (though, thankfully, with rewarding activities that I enjoy). If I buy something that requires an investment of my time—like those books I have yet to read—realistically, I have to ask myself what activity I will give up or cut down on in order to carve out time for enjoying my new purchase. If my life is getting hectic, or if I'm already enjoying my current activities a lot, or if the new purchase requires a significant investment of time to use, it's very unlikely that I'll get around to using it, despite my best intentions.
[photo from Frarochvia]