Home Mindful Living What to do when you want something you don’t need? (8 simple tips)

What to do when you want something you don’t need? (8 simple tips)

by Vidya Sury May 3, 2021 11 comments
What to Do When You Want Something You Don’t Need

We are all guilty of mindless purchases especially now, when getting things online has become super-easy. It is hard to say no to yourself when you want something you don’t need, right? We think of all the reasons we absolutely want it, knowing very well that we don’t really need it.

Case in point – that kiddy meal that comes with that toy your kid will never even give a second look the minute you step over the threshold of your home and yet, when you’re at the fast-food outlet, it becomes a life goal to possess it.

Or that beautiful and rather expensive scarf you desperately want even though you know you’ve got ten like that in your closet that you hardly ever use.


What to do when you want something you don’t need?

Whatever it is, there’s a good chance you don’t really need it.

I am not saying you can’t have it but chances are, you would be much better off without it.

How do you know for sure? How do you stop struggling with the should-I-shouldn’t-I?

We see a lot being spoken about minimalism these days – the concept of less is more. Here’s an interesting article – Towards a theory of minimalism and wellbeing that explores the experience of people living a minimalistic lifestyle in order to develop a deeper understanding of the wellbeing benefits of minimalism. It suggests that the wellbeing benefits of minimalism can provide the encouragement to reduce individual consumption and ultimately lessen the population’s ecological footprint.

8 tips to help you decide what to do when you want something you dont need

Here are 8 simple tips to figure out what to do when you want what you don’t need

…and feel happy about whatever choice you make, guilt-free. They work for me and I am pretty sure you’ll find them useful.

1.    Wait

When you want something that you don’t need, you’ll often find that the desire to own it will fade if you give it time. Just like that kiddie meal toy that is ignored the minute it comes home. Whether it’s a puppy, that gorgeous scarf, a new car, or a collectible, you’ll be surprised to find that you can live without it if you wait 30 days. See how you feel about it next month. Yes, you’ll need the will-power to do that. It is worth it.

2.    Remind yourself of why you don’t need it

In the want vs need debate, remind yourself of all the reasons why you can live without it. Be logical with yourself. Maybe you don’t need a new car because your current car works just fine. Or, you don’t need that scarf because you already have plenty that you don’t actually use, but have always been meaning to. Being attracted to something is not a reason to buy it. So – self-talk time!

3.    List the downsides of acquiring it

What are the negatives of following through on your impulse? Why should you not get it? For example, if you bought that new car, a/ it is expensive b/ you must spend on recurring insurance payments c/ you must worry about what if someone scratches it d/ what if you are stuck with a car payment and lose your job? Oh, I know. Doom and gloom, but very likely possibilities.

So, talk yourself out of it.

4.    Don’t buy anything that doesn’t fit into your life

As an example, maybe you live in an apartment where it is quiet and peaceful. Getting that pet would really not fit into your lifestyle. Or those fabulous snowshoes you will never wear because it is so hot where you live. Or those gorgeous running shoes – because you will never ever run. You get the idea. If it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, forget buying it. Why add unnecessary guilt?

I say guilt because I am guilty of buying things that I really didn’t need – a clear case of when you want something you don’t need. I started purging a few years ago and the space and feeling of lightness is incredible. Which brings us to our next point.

5.    Get rid of two things for every one thing you buy

Golden advice! If you’re going to buy something, at least make your life a little better by creating some extra space. For each thing you bring into your home, get rid of at least two. That way, you’re gaining ground. Plus feeling great about giving something away or maybe even selling it. Thing is, you aren’t adding things that you don’t need simply because you want them.

My closet is an embarrassing example of this. I cannot deny I love clothes. Fortunately, I don’t spend a fortune on them. Street shopping is more my thing. But still, over the years, it all adds up. Once again, fortunately I had a Mom who loved to give things away. I remember, decades ago, I got back home and was looking for an old pair of jeans I loved. Mom suggested I had something to eat first.

When I asked her about the jeans, she said she had bartered the bowl I was holding for a bunch of old clothes she had given away. Whoa! Sure I was a little sad but that was temporary.

6.    Find a more suitable substitute

When you want something you don’t need, think about this: why do you want to buy that particular item in the first place? I remember a friend of mine who was super keen on buying a grand piano. Never mind that she had neither the space nor the money for it. Finally, better sense prevailed and she got a keyboard instead that made sense both space-wise and money-wise.

So think about it – what benefits does your urge fulfill? Is there a better way to fulfill it?

7.    Just say “No”

I have realized over the decades that if you want to be happier, you have to learn to say no to yourself. You have to be strong. For some of us, that’s all it takes. You know you don’t need to eat that doughnut, so don’t. Some people are better at telling themselves “no” than others. And I really would like to believe that I am slowly becoming one of those people.

Most of us are good, however, at telling ourselves that we’ll begin telling ourselves “no” tomorrow. Unfortunately, we continue telling ourselves that over and over.

It took a major health scare to help me learn to say no to myself. My diabetes diagnosis. Overnight, I had to change my lifestyle – which included my diet, my schedule, and habits. I did it, though. By learning to say no to many things I would have slacked off about.

8.    Consider getting it

And finally, the obvious thing to do even when you want something you don’t really need. Because if we only acquired the things that we truly needed, we’d have little more than bread, water, and a toilet. Right?

Obviously, there’s much more to life than the bare minimum. We need more. The important thing is to be choosy about what you decide to bring into your life. Get it only if it improves your life. Let it not be something you got impulsively and secretly regret.

Be careful giving in to your wants. We only have so much time, money, and space. Maximize their utility. Prioritize the things you need. Take note when you really want something. And then, make the wise decision. I hope these tips will help you!

And now, I’d love to know what you have a weakness for.

What do you do when you want something you don’t need?

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Elle Sommer May 4, 2021 at 12:18 am

I wish I’d read this before I devoured the cupcake that I definitely didn’t need. Though I did sort of go through some of your ideas in my mind (not all of them sadly) and ate the darned thing anyway! But I take heart in your last paragraph Vidya…consider getting it. In my case eating it.

Sandra Pawula May 6, 2021 at 3:41 am

Great post, Vidya, and very needed in this world. In my own situation, a good example is coloring books. There are so many absolutely gorgeous coloring books out there. People who teach coloring techniques and share color alongs on YouTube call themselves enablers. They freely encourage people to buy every single coloring book and coloring supply they want without any consideration to the environment or waste. People have libraries of a hundred or more coloring books. But how can you possibly color in that many coloring books in one lifetime?

It’s nice to have variety when you color, so I don’t expect people to have only one. Although when I started out I just had one that I loved. Now I have about ten, and I try to keep it limited to that number. If I buy a new one because I just can’t resist, I give another one away I don’t like as well away. There are a few I would like to add to my collection, but instead of instantly buying them, I decided to put them on my Christmas list, so i’ll wait on those. I’m trying to use some of the techniques you list here, and they have worked for me.

I especially like the idea of giving two things away, haven’t tried that one yet. I see it could be a demotivator! And listing the downsides too! Cause I don’t have space for more coloring books.

My experience with people in the coloring community, bless their souls, shows me how wasteful we are without even giving it a second thought. I think of all those rarely used coloring books in people’s collections adding to environmental degradation. I think of all the kids in the world that don’t even have they own coloring books.

It’s not always easy to resist, but I have my own little rules like the ones I shared here, and i do my best. Even while I was reading your article, there was an ad for a coloring book that’s on my wish list!

Debbie Hampton May 7, 2021 at 6:58 am

I really like the suggestion that we have to get rid of two things for every one thing brought into the house. I do not like clutter and stuff just for the sake of having stuff. It just makes me anxious and it’s wasteful. That would help keep reducing even when you add. I love it!
Debbie Hampton recently posted…4 Steps to Build a More Resilient Brain

Indiacafe24.com May 8, 2021 at 1:54 pm

Oh dear, this article is going to be perfect for one of my neighbourhood Bhabiji. She keeps buying things even without thinking will it be actually useful in longrun or not. The moment she realise the return window is already closed.

Aakriti Dhawan May 9, 2021 at 3:46 am

Well this one seems apt for shopoholics lol. Will surely forward it to the shopoholics I know off.

Energetic reads May 9, 2021 at 11:23 am

These tips are really helpful. I liked these suggestions and would share with others also. I also believe what you said.

Sweety Joshi May 10, 2021 at 10:46 am

This article is perfect! We should learn to say no to ourselves too…. If we don’t need such things just stop it. I never buy anything which I don’t need.
Sweety Joshi recently posted…15 Simple Hair Care Habits You Need To Adopt Right Now

Urvi Kunal Savla May 9, 2021 at 9:59 pm

Wow this is a much needed article for me and many others. Mindless and impulse buying is a thing now and needs to stop 👍

Richa Nimeshwari May 9, 2021 at 11:00 pm

I guess this happen with all the girls. I can’t control myself whenever I go for shopping, I always purchase things I don’t need. So after then I start making list before shopping. These points are absolutely helpful for all.

Humaira May 10, 2021 at 12:12 am

We all have unpleasant tasks that we need to do. It’s time to learn how to do something you don’t want to do with these simple tips. I liked these suggestions and would share with others also.

sofia May 10, 2021 at 3:12 pm

I have this impulse of buying stuff is there but I am on new year resolution to not shop mindlessly and ask my self,,, ” do I need it or want it” it helps me!


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