On Actually Needed Something

When you ask the simple question of when the right time is to buy a new item – say shoes – the answer should be clear. It only seems logical to go out and spend money on new shoes, as soon as the old ones stop being functional. At the point where you cannot use them for their true purpose of walking/running, or at the point where people might take you for a hobo by the sight of them.

However, when do we ever get to this point in reality, before we replace them?

I know, in my case, I usually start paying attention to the decline of my shoes’ condition, around the time they are at the midpoint in their lifecycle. I begin noticing that something is slightly coming apart, or a color is getting a little altered from its original state.

At this point, I start “sticking out my antenna”. I check websites and catalogs for offers on shoes I might consider buying, and I begin to consider what brand of shoe I might want the next time.

A “need” for a new of pair shoes has been fully established inside me, even though I am still far from being “in need” of a new pair of shoes.

Then a few days later, when I walk into to a shopping mall or check out a website, I find the exact kind of shoe, or the exact kind of offer I was looking for, and it seems illogical not to take advantage of it on the spot, now that I have found what I was hoping for.

What my monkey brain doesn’t realize is the insignificance of this lucky coincidence, since a shopping mall usually is filled with hundreds of thousands of shoes, and they are almost all on sale during any given three month period.

When I decide to take advantage of this “phenomenal” offer, I feel like I have made a rational business decision, and it therefore only seems reasonable to throw out the old pair – especially now that I have gotten the new ones at such a good price. I have replaced my old shoes, close to twice as fast as I needed to, and I am still way too happy about it.

What I should have done instead, was ask myself beforehand: when am I really going to need a new pair of shoes? When will the old pair no longer be able to serve its purpose?

And then act accordingly, not eagerly.

Or, at least, I should have kept the old ones, until they were truly useless, and only taken the new ones into use then.

I think most of us end up spending much more than we need, due to this dynamic, and it certainly doesn’t only apply to shoes. Because of it, we never get to experience the feeling of actually needing anything. For some reason, I feel like it would be good for us, to experience that feeling from time to time.

It’s worth saying, that this mindset might not apply exactly to groceries and other consumables.

So when was the last time you actually needed something?