Is this the only valid reason to buy something?


Sometimes I wonder why I and many others need constant reminders to spend within our budgets. After all, we set those parameters during some of our best, clearest thinking moments.

The challenge comes from the disruptive forces acting against our best budgeted intentions:

  • We see advertisements for the New and Shiny.
  • We see our friends, neighbors, and family members consuming the New and Shiny.

There may be nothing wrong with the New and Shiny (although we’d be better off at least shopping for the gently-used, not quite as shiny). The derailing moment comes when we consume based on something other than our need for a real solution.

No point bickering over the definition of “necessary”; let’s just agree on the wrong stimulus for awarding the “necessary” label.

If I decide I need the New and Shiny after seeing it advertised, or because I saw someone else consume it, giving it the “necessary” label would be pretty suspicious.

If it solves a problem I repeatedly run into in my life – a problem that causes me real pain and suffering, or costs me more money or time than the price of the New and Shiny, I’m safer stamping it with the “necessary” label.

I’m okay with just plain old Wanting Stuff. There’s lots of Stuff I just Want, but I’m trying to be careful about giving it the wrong label.

In our luxurious western world very few things we consume pass as a true need, but I’m not advocating we walk around in burlap bags. I’m saying we’ll be happier if we pause and ask ourselves where our desire for the New Thing came from.