Why We Buy Things We Do Not Need And What To Do About It

things we do not need

Things We Do Not Need


Why do we buy things we do not need? That is a great question. We have to admit we buy things we don’t need. American’s consume twice as many goods than they did 50 years ago and The World is not far behind.

This is an ever growing problem and there are very simple reasons that contribute. I will point out many of the top reasons and explore ways to avoid weighing life down buying things we do not need. Is this a problem in your life or just something you observe in others?

If you acknowledge this as a problem in your life you are in luck. I am going to help you address and overcome this sneaky soul-sucking problem.

Is The Diderot Effect Is Why We Buy Things We Do Not Need

Ok, the problem of constantly buying things we do not need is not easy to address but this is a great starting point. This is one of the rational scientific reasons widely believed as to we buy things we do not need.


The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled – James Clear


The Diderot Effect is real and most of us suffer from it. For example, there is a special event coming up and we go out and buy a new outfit. We have a fully functioning wardrobe but The Diderot Effect leads to the need for a new outfit and many of the accessories to go along with it.

You get the idea. Many of you may have never heard of The Diderot effect but we all surely have experienced it from time to time.

When buying something we actually need or there is a change in life The Diderot Effect can cause people to buy things we do not need us to (we feel) enhance or compliment that change. Please bless us with some of your examples of how this may have happened in your life in the comments below.




Some Of The Reasons I Believe We Buy Things We Do Not Need

Now that we got the scientific widely accepted reason we buy things we do not need, let’s get to the REAL reasons we buy things we do not need.

This is not rocket science we already know them all but here we go. The REAL reasons we buy things we do not need.

1. To Keep Up With The Joneses.

Sometimes pride causes us to do stupid things. People buy things to keep up with other people. Clothing, jewelry, homes, and cars are some of the things people buy to impress others.

You can live a great life without any of those things. The people you care about and really care about you don’t care what kind of home or care you have.

They don’t care about the type of clothing or jewelry you own. They just care about you but you already know they. The problem is you. Just make it a point to impress the people that really care about your in ways that really matter to you and them.

2. Doing What You Always Do.

Some people shop because they like to look around. If you’re one of those people, realize that you probably have a shopping habit you need to break. Think about it. If you can’t think of anything you need right now, why put a whole bunch of stuff in front of your eyes that you’ll want to purchase? Break the just-for-fun shopping habit by making a list of things you need as you think of them during your day and only purchasing what’s on the list.

3. You Purchase More Of The Same.

People like what they like, even if they have the same exact thing already. As a child, I could remember returning home after a day of shopping with my mother and her realizing she just purchased an outfit she owned already.

She would say she would return it, we would laugh and I thought nothing of it. We know our weaknesses and should be on guard to prevent them from sparking us to buy things we do not need.

I am aware of my weakness for owning tools and gadgets. Now I control it. I say a small prayer whenever I have to enter a Home Depot or Lowes Home Improvement store. LOL.

4. To Feel Better About Yourself.

There are times people shop or overeat because they are not feeling good about themselves. There is research that proves spending money makes people feel better about themselves.

Avoid being in a position to buy things you do not need when you are depressed or just having a bad day.

6. Massive Advertising.

I am always amazed at the amount of advertising I see the moment I enter malls or the downtown area of any major city. We are bombarded with a massive amount of advertising in every aspect of our lives. I assume it works.

This advertising is designed to make people believe their lives will be complete if they purchase these products or services. Capitalism is at the bottom of this massive amount of advertisements. The promise of capitalism and these advertisements are lies.

Don’t believe the hype.  We should avoid allowing advertisements dupe us into buying things we do not need.

7. Knee Jerk Reaction.

Let’s face it. We are led to believe new is always better. This is not always true. In many cases, items can be repaired or the old one does the job just fine.

Sometimes people replace items just because there is a newer one available. This in many cases is just a knee-jerk reaction in our consumerism culture.

Tips To Overcome The Need Buy Things You Don’t Need

We all recognize that buying things we do not need can cause minor and major long-term problems in our lives. These problems can be avoided. Here are a few tips you can use to help you avoid buying things you do not need.

1. Only Buy What You Need.

Only buy what you need? That is easier said than done. LOL. That is correct, only buy what you need. You do not have to own the latest and the greatest of EVERYTHING! The Previous model of Samsung Galaxy or iPhone still works great.

In the event, you do have to buy something new resist The Diderot Effect. Don’t buy new accessories to compliment the purchase. Use what you already have. Well, I guess you will need a new phone case but that all!

This is a great way to help prevent us from buying things we do not need.

2. Create a System

It helps to create a system or a working process to resist buying things you don’t need. I usually ask to wait a week before I buy an item. This helps me to avoid impulse buys.


I also ask myself a few questions before I make many purchases. Here they are:


  • Do I really need it?
  • Can borrow it?
  • Should I buy it used?
  • Do I already have an item that can substitute?


Not necessarily in that order. This system helps me avoid buying things I do not need. Do you have a system?

3. Buy One, Donate One.

This is very simple. When there is a need to make a purchase just recycle the old item. This will help prevent clutter from growing in your home.

If you get a new winter coat, donate the old one. No sense of it taking up space in your closet on cold winter days when it could be used.

If you purchase a new phone, TV or any other electronics recycle the old one. We all have junk draws filled with old electronics and a room with a broken TV sitting on the floor. LOL.

If you are not will to donate the old item then you should not replace it with a new one. This is a great way to help prevent us from buying things we do not need and cultivating the habit to only include the things that bring you joy and happiness in our lives.




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