Buy what you need, not what’s on offer

Scott Nesbitt’s story matches my time in Tokyo a bit – small apartment, not a lot of storage, a desire to to happy with less:

Weekly Musings: Weekly Musings 148:

Buy what you need. Not what’s on offer. Those eight words started the gears in my noggin slowly rotating. Those eight words prompted me to ponder what I own and whether I need all of it.

While I identify as something of a minimalist, I have to admit that own more than I perhaps should. And after moving into a 68 m2 (about 732 ft2, for those of you who don’t speak Metric) apartment in 2020, I realized had a bit too much in the way of possessions. Of all sizes — from larger items to smaller tchotchkes.

… It’s all just a bit too much, in my opinion. Too much that I need to cull it.

… But what is too much and what is enough? That varies by person. Some people can get away with just 100 essential things in their lives. Others might need more due to, say, personal or professional demands. Even then, they can be a bit more judicious about what they have, what they want, and what they need.

With latter two, there is a difference

… To escape, we need to ask ourselves this question: Do I really need this?

… You also need to escape the contingency mindset … Maybe you’re holding on to that extra something just in case. In case of what? Loss? Breakage? Breakdown? A situation in which your other tools or software or apps, the ones you use regularly, aren’t quite up to the job? You might run into that situation once in a proverbial blue moon. And chances are you’ll forget you even have that tool or app when (if?) it comes time to use it.

I disagree with Scott on the contingency mindset partially. One needs to have a planned contingency mindset, or better phrased an emergency mindset. One of the lessons learned during the pandemic is that some products and services are critical for riding out an emergency.

It’s also good to point out that minimalism is sometimes a privileged position to take. There’s a cost to replacing perfectly good if cheap pans to replace them with one or two high quality replacements in the pursuit of minimalism. However, if you’re stockpiling jelly jars just in case, then there is little to no opportunity cost to recycling them.

As a new homeowner I am trying to keep to the succinct mantra of “buy what you need, not what’s on offer”. Nevertheless, if there is an item I know I will need eventually but not right now I will sock away some savings for when that item does come on-sale (or on offer). For example, I recently bought a clothes iron that was significantly discounted.

The rest of Scott’s advice is solid, so I encourage you to check out his newsletter.

This entry was posted in I84D, personal by Paul. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

Be nice with what you write.