As a gadget lover I have found myself owning some of the latest tech gadgets in the last five years. I remember journeying all the way to china town in Boston just to get my hands on the very first Ipad a month after it went on sales, only to find out months later that a newer model was going to be released. This was back in 2010 and just four years later there are over four newer versions of the same Ipad rendering my 4 year old gadget obsolete.
Many of us at one time in our life have found ourselves in situations where we own things we actually do not need and probably cannot dispose of. It is even worse if these are things that cost us even more money to maintain regardless of whether we use them or not. It could be cars, clothes, gadgets, wearable’s etc. Just how one can minimize the habit of buying things we actually do not need and prioritizing the need to buy what we absolutely need. First the causes;
I found out that most of the things I own that I actually do not need were bought out of some seller’s pressure rather than an actual need. I once bought a pair of slippers I never wore because a friend just started the business of selling slippers and insisted I be his first customer. I bought the slippers reluctantly took it home and never wore it. When faced with such a situation is probably better to take the more difficult route of nicely declining and asking the seller to come up with a better product.
This is another major excuse for buying things we absolutely do not need. For example, you buy a pair of shoes you see and absolutely love even though you have a similar pair just that it is a different color. Or you buy a new car just because the newer model has a better shaped headlight even though the engine, chassis and interior are the same with the cheaper older version. These are all related to lust rather than a need. If you are able to conquer that lust before making a buy decision there is every likelihood that you will make the right decision most of the time.
Just last week a friend walked into a bar smelling absolutely irresistible. We asked what perfume he was wearing and he mentioned it was a $250 exclusive designer’s perfume. Everyone immediately put it on their wish list. That is an example of buying things under peer pressure. Had he not walked in, we probably would not have thought of buying the perfume.
Buying things that are in vogue is a very common reason for buying things we actually do not need. You want to own the very latest mobile phones, handbags, shoes etc. even though those same things get out of fashion soon after they arrive. Whilst it is good to look in tune with the times there are a lot of stuff out there that are absolutely unnecessary to own.
Having too much money at your disposal is a very easy way of splurging on things that are absolute unnecessary. Just because you have some loose cash at your disposal anything that comes you way becomes a thing of necessity only for you to realise later that you actually don’t need them. That is why it is often better to put any loose cash to work as quickly as you can rather than have it lie idly in your bank account or in your hand. Money they say, has a spirit of its own.
How can I then avoid the pressures above and make sure I buy what I absolutely need? I often try to do the following
The first thing I try to do is determine what alternatives I have. Are there similar items that can satisfy my absolute need? If yes then buying the item has to be lust or some of the other pressures I listed above.
I also want to know how durable whatever it is I am buying is. How long is it likely to last and does it look like something that will soon get obsolete? Or, Will the product continue to serve my purpose even if there are newer versions? You have to be very convinced on a products durability before you make a buy decision.
I also strike a balance between having a product taking care of my need and me taking care of the product. Some products have a high maintenance need so much that you wonder who is taking care of who. Whatever I buy must be inexpensive and/or affordable to maintain.
I have to be sure I have the money to pay for the item. If I don’t then I save up for it. Don’t buy what you can’t afford.
A good bargain on a product can also trigger an immediate need where there probably wasn’t one. You may not have a need to own a car at the moment only for you to get an offer for half the selling price of that car. This type of offer can ultimately influence your need. A good deal is always welcomed.