Our series 'How to choose your mobile home' wouldn't be complete without an attempt to help you decide what exactly is important to you.
There is no clear-cut answer for everyone so here are a few ideas on how to find yours.
Compile one long list of anything that stands out for you. Then assign that list into needs (absolutely must have) and wants (would really like).
Work with the needs first and determine if any one is dependent on another - place that higher on your needs list. The longer the list the more challenging it may be to find your dream machine, but when you look at the money outlaid for a mobile home it is worth putting in the time to do your homework. Taking this one step further you can work from the bottom of this needs list and really ask yourself, if not having this item would prevent you from getting away, or if it is worth postponing your travel plans for another month or two or three in order to hold out for their fulfillment. I like to call these your strong preferences, others call them wants.
Put the wants on a separate piece of paper or the back of your needs so you are not initially distracted by them. Your wants reflect the quality and enjoyment of life but can often be added or accommodated after the purchase. Only you will know where to draw the line down your list between needs and wants.
Another way to do this particularly for the visual person, is to do a brain-storm with pen and paper or use mind-mapping software. The advantage of the software is that you can re-arrange any item more easily if it is a sub-idea. Using either method you may be able to see if some needs are more central (important) and other needs dependent.
A technique that is not always used as it has a narrow focus is a flow diagram. Sometimes you can map out your main needs and then the results of a few subsequent decisions for each sub-need until you create a path that helps you make a final decision. If you have a few scenarios to map out do this side by side. Usually it's just the initial question or two that is different and those following similar.
Yet a fourth idea and one I like to use often, is a prioritising grid. This works better if you only have 10-12 items or less to rank against each other but is very, very effective in clarifying what you are thinking instead of your mind racing around and around in circles. The concept is that you take one idea and compare it to each of the others, deciding which of each pair is more important and assigning it a preference point. After you have compared them all you add up the points and re-order them accordingly to reveal your actual list of priorities.
There is something very useful about getting your ideas down on paper. For one, others can see what you are thinking if you haven't done this exercise together.
You may be able to figure out your needs, strong preferences/ wants in a night, or it may take a week or two to get more information on your options. This is where something in black and white also helps as you can come back to it without having to take too much time remembering where you left off in the conversation.
I'd love to know how our "How to choose a mobile home" series or this prioritising post has helped you get on the road; or if you think we could improve it. Please take a moment to send us some feedback. We appreciate it!