Put your money in a sack, run to the dealership, drop it in front of the salesman like a mic.
We have too many choices. Even though from time to time I rant about how we do not have a lot of options in the motorcycle department, the options we do have are enough to make the motorcycle buying decision extremely confusing and difficult.
This article explains the techniques I used to simplify my bike buying decision, however these ideas can be applied to almost any other decision in life that deals with material objects. Being able to make a decision is a skill that most of us take for granted, here I’ll try to explain how to make the job easier.
It is important to note that these ideas work only when you really are ready to buy something, this is not meant to satisfy those imaginary scenarios when you fondle yourself while scrolling through Revzilla, or finger yourself while reading that Daytona 675 vs. Daytona 675R comparo.
Restrict the choices
It all boils down to this simple idea, you must reduce the number of choices you select from. The reasons for this are really simple:
- There are far too many choices, you will never be able to study or understand them all
- Attempting to understand all the choices is a wastage of time and brain
- As long as you are approximately correct, what you choose doesn’t really matter
- There’s no such thing as the perfect choice, everything has positives and negatives
- Wrong choices frequently turn out to be the most fun
Now let’s focus on how you convert those words into things that can be done.
- Fix your budget: Obviously the most important step, but one that most people get wrong. Humans are greedy, marketers know that, and they play it to their advantage. Spend a little bit more than your budget, and you could get this, spend a little bit more than the little bit more, and you could get that. It’s too easy to get distracted, to overshoot your budget. As a general rule, I always try to avoid a loan, buying with what you have is the easiest way to set a budget.
- Restrict what you really need: Just like you need to restrict your choices, you also need to restrict what you really want from those choices. Every buying decision is based on a few important factors, and a lot of unimportant ones. Figure out the 3 most important ones, and let them pull you towards the right choice. This part requires logical thinking, self-control, and lack of emotions, not everyone is good at these things, but you can be.
- Be brutal: I mean towards yourself, don’t treat yourself like a fucking princess. Once a choice is out of the picture for whatever reason, keep it out, no matter how much you really love it. Overshooting your budget could get you that item you’ve always dreamed about? Crush your dreams. Your brain is very good at fooling itself, you’ve got to slap it into consciousness quite frequently. Feeling sorry for yourself is pathetic, it won’t kill you to compromise.
- Make a sheet and make that decision: Once you have finalized the 3-5 choices that you must decide from, create a sheet in Excel or on a piece of paper. Compare the choices, write down everything you can about them. Do not attempt to compare things inside your head, your brain will trick itself into buying what it feels is the best option. Write things down, let yourself be shocked by facts and numbers, and make an informed decision.
- Buy and don’t regret: Once the decision is done, go for it. Don’t re-compare, don’t find new options, don’t overthink, don’t wait for too long. You might need to stop yourself from visiting certain sites, or talking about certain things. Do it. What you shouldn’t do is wait too long for a great deal, most things worth buying don’t get much cheaper. Remember that prices can always go up as well. Enjoy the satisfaction of having made a decision.
Example 1: How I bought a bike
After I had ridden the Pulsar 150 for some 5 years, I wanted to upgrade. I only had a bit more than a lac in cash, but a good friend of mine was willing to lend me another lac interest free for 6 months. So the first step for me was rather simple, I could only buy something below 2.25 lacs.
I had the following 3 most important requirements:
- It should be fast
- It should be comfortable
- It shouldn’t be a Royal Enfield
I wanted something that could sit at 120 kmph without much issues. I wanted something that I could comfortably tour on. And I absolutely did not want a Royal Enfield. Luckily for me, there weren’t a lot of options to choose from, unless I increased my budget. The options were:
- Duke 390
- RC 390
- CBR 250
At this point I got a bit confused because by putting a down payment of 2 lacs I could have actually got a loan to pick up a Ninja 650. I seriously considered that option at one point, but then quickly came back to my senses and dropped that option.
Now it was time to make the sheet, it looked something like the table below. Notice that I have quantified each feature as a number from 0 to 10, where 0 is bad and 10 is good. Doing this gives me a single number in the end that removes confusion.
[table id=16 /]
Once this was done the choice was rather simple. I went to the showroom and booked my bike. Once this was done I distracted myself away from any news about new bikes, or any new user reviews on Team-bhp, and more or less blocked out the motorcycling world until my bike was delivered. Once it was, the decision was done, and there was no use regretting it, so I enjoyed the shit out of that machine.
Example 2: How I bought a laptop
I bought a gaming laptop about a month back. It was a much more difficult decision compared to buying the Duke because there were far too many choices, and I do not know laptops as good as I know bikes. In any case, here’s how I ended up choosing what I bought.
I have bought a lot of cheap laptops in the past, and they always explode with the load I put on them. This time I knew I wanted to buy something expensive, something than can handle the pressure. The plan was to buy a laptop around 1 lac Rupees, which translated to around 1100 pounds.
I had the following 3 most important requirements:
- 7th gen i7 processor
- Nvidia 1050 ti or above graphics card
- A warranty service where the engineer comes to my house, rather than me posting my laptop to them
The third requirement immediately disqualified most of the manufacturers out there. I was attracted towards Asus ROG laptops, and at one point even thought about getting something from Razer, but those options were easy to erase from my mind because I wasn’t very emotional about my laptop purchase, at least not as much as I was for the bike.
I ended up with only 3 viable options based on my budget and requirements, those were:
- HP Omen 15
- Lenovo Legion Y720
- Dell Inspiron 15
It was time to make the sheet, and this is what it looked like. Again, all features have been converted into numbers from 0 to 10, 0 is bad, 10 is good.
[table id=17 /]
Well, decision made, order placed, and all information about upcoming laptops and new laptop deals censored. It took them 3 days to deliver my laptop, and it has been a fantastic decision based on 1 month of usage.
A few important things to note
Based on the examples above, here are few things that I would like you to notice:
- I would have been equally happy if I had bought the RC 390 or the CBR 250, they have their own positives, they can do things that the Duke can’t, but a decision had to be made, and I made it.
- I would have been equally happy if I had bought the Dell or the Lenovo, all 3 of the laptops could have easily taken the pressure I put on them, and in the real world there isn’t much difference between a 1050 ti and a 1060.
- In most situations one important point can really help you filter the choices. ABS made life easy in the bike department since most bikes didn’t have it, warranty type did the trick with laptops because most models came without home-visit warranty. Finding that one key option can simplify things tremendously.
- All decisions are biased, it’s impossible to make a completely logical choice. However, basing your decision on pure emotion can only be done if you are a rich fuck, people on a budget do not have that luxury, because buying something is only the beginning of the expense. Buying a bike means buying gear, luggage, and petrol. Buying a laptop means buying software, games, and upgrades. Keep that in mind during the purchase.
- In the end, the decision is irrelevant, because it’s a means to an end. I bought a bike because I wanted to travel, I bought a laptop because I wanted to play games. Don’t waste too much time or energy buying something, spend it once you’ve bought the damn thing.
I consider myself to be a good decision maker, and what you’ve read is my process. I would warn you not to apply these techniques to people, they only work with objects. People can’t be quantified, and emotions can’t be removed from that picture.
I do understand that window-shopping is fun, it feels good to imagine buying something way out of your budget, it feels good to jack off to a fantasy. What I’ve talked about here is how to deal with yourself once the fantasy is over, once reality sets in, once you’ve taken a bath.