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5 Completely Unnecessary Things You Really Shouldn’t Buy

If we are honest, we all love buying unnecessary things from time to time. But perhaps it’s time to stop?

Many of us spend way too much money on unnecessary things. These can range from a useless gadget to a high-end kitchen gadget we only ever use once.

While it might “feel good” to make that impulse purchase in the short term, you might find you end up paying for it in the long run.

Here we’ll offer some advice on how to take back control of your emotions and get your finances back on track. We’ll then test your new resolve with 5 useless, yet fun. examples of useless objects your former self would have bought without thinking about it twice.

What are the unnecessary things in life?

If you have more money than sense, you may find yourself buying a lot of junk at times. While it may feel ‘good’ at the time of purchase, in the end, you’ll probably never use that thing again.

But don’t worry, you are not alone. According to sites like cheatsheet.com, many Americans can’t seem to resist the urge to buy unnecessary products. Most millennials tend to be spending more of their disposable income on leisure activities, impulse purchases, and clothing.

The Useless Box is the epitome of unnecessary things to buy – but it is awesome. Source: Solarbotics/Flickr

Many factors are blamed, with marketing and branding usually being a big factor. But most people report, in polls, that they tend to buy stuff to “feel good.”

These are some of the most common purchases:

  1. Convenient snacks and drinks
  2. Beauty products
  3. New clothes
  4. Overpriced hotels
  5. Movies, books, and other media (Obviously books can also be considered a good investment)
  6. Apps (and in-app purchases)
  7. Tech
  8. Cable TV
  9. Gym memberships (never or rarely used)
  10. Car loans

Obviously, there are few “useful” things here, after all, you usually do need a car in the modern age – but most are not really essential.

How do I stop buying unnecessary things?

If you want to budget effectively you should ‘audit’ your spending and trim the fat to stop wasting your valuable cash. After all, you need to spend your most valuable asset, your time, to earn those dollars in the first place.

There are many guides out there to help you stop buying ‘junk,’ but at the end of the day you must have the will, and discipline to carry them out. But that being said there are few tips and tricks you could try (credit to stefanieconnell.com):

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Keep Away From Temptation – This one is obvious. If you simply can’t resist, stay away from those shops!

Avoid Retail Seduction – “It’s not how much you earn, its how much you keep” as the saying goes. Keep your wallet in your pocket!

Take Inventory – Take stock of what useless stuff you already have. Don’t ignore it. Maybe consider giving stuff to charity.

Practice Gratitude – This one is easier said than done, but thinking about what really makes you happy in life will bolster your ability to resist impulse buying.

Get Grounded in the Numbers – Budget, budget, budget! Work out your income and expenditure. How much are you spending on rubbish each month? The cold, unlying numbers might scare you into action.

What should you not waste money on?

As we have already seen, many of us waste money needlessly on things we don’t really need. But that being said, you don’t need to live a Spartan life.

Treating yourself once in a while is a good way to keep motivated and reward yourself for your hard work. “All work and no play. ” as the saying goes.

However, there are some other things you really should think twice about buying. In fact, many wealth and finance coaches will tell you to not waste money on anything that:

1. Rusts

2. Rots

3. Depreciates

There are many other websites out there that will offer you examples of things you don’t need to buy.

For example, treehugger.com lists the following:

1. Specialty items like waffle irons or ice cream makers – Are you really going to use these often?

2. A Fine China set – While they might look pretty, are you ever going to use it?

3. Throw pillows – Do you really need that much cushioning?

4. Many types of glasses – Again, do you really need to deck out your kitchen like a restaurant or bar? How often do you actually drink champagne or brandy?

Some fun examples of unnecessary things you could, but probably shouldn’t buy

With all that being said, let’s take a look at some funny useless things you could buy, but probably shouldn’t.

It’s your money, so spend it, or not, as you please.

There’s a very good reason why you shouldn’t pluck your nose hairs

As unsightly or awkward as they may be, your nose hairs play an important role in keeping you healthy. And there’s a very good reason why you shouldn’t pluck them out.

Business Insider’s video team chatted with Dr. Erich Voigt, an otolaryngologist (meaning he treats diseases and disorders related to the ear, nose, and throat) at New York University. He described what’s going on in your nose with the hairs that filter out all the stuff you breath in every day.

To start, there are two kinds of nose hairs that are key here: the ones you can see and want to pluck, called the vibrissae, and the microscopic cilia, which are responsible for filtering mucus and moving it to the back of the nose, where it can go into the stomach.

The vibrissae, which hang out near the front, are responsible for keeping some of the larger particles from making it that far.

If you pluck those hairs, germs and particles near the follicles can get inside and cause an infection.

He described the concept of a “danger triangle,” or the area on the face between your mouth and nose that’s susceptible to passing infections on to the brain.

That’s because the same veins that carry blood out of the nose meet up with veins that carry blood out from the brain as well. If those germs make it all the way back there, Voigt said, it could lead to conditions like meningitis (in which the protective membranes on the spinal cord and brain become inflamed) or brain abscess (another type of inflammation and swelling that happens in the brain, related to an infection).

These types of infections are rare, but they can cause serious trouble for people with weakened immune systems. And, depending on the infection type (bacterial meningitis, for example), the infections can be extreme and in some cases deadly.

So the next time you’re considering plucking a stray hair, consider trimming it instead; so long as you don’t get too close to the skin inside your nose, it could keep the “danger triangle” from becoming a full-blown problem.

Every Reason to Stop Pre-Rinsing Dishes Before They Go in the Dishwasher

Trust us. You want them to be dirty.

“To rinse or not to rinse? That is question,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “And the answer is ‘not to rinse.'”

You should always scrape off food scraps before you wash plates, bowls, and utensils, but that’s the only step your dishwasher can’t handle. Here’s why need to back slowly away from the sink:

1. Your dishes need to be dirty for the dishwasher detergent to do its job.

The makers of the dish detergent Cascade discourage customers from pre-washing or rinsing dishes because it actually inhibits the cleaner from working. “Enzymes in Cascade detergent are designed to attach themselves to food particles,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Without food, the enzymes have nothing to latch onto, says P&G.”

In other words, your precious detergent just might rinse away before it has time to do anything if your dishes are gunk-free.

2. You won’t get your dishes any cleaner if you rinse or hand-wash them before you put them in the machine.

Today’s new-fangled dishwashers are more savvy than what grandma might have owned. They have advanced sprayer technology and sensors that detect how dirty your dishes are, says Forte. And research proves that your extra rinsing efforts don’t help your dishes get any cleaner than your hard-working dishwasher alone.

3. Pre-rinsing at the sink (and washing dishes by hand, for that matter) seriously wastes water and energy.

You waste 6,000 gallons per year if you insist on pre-rinsing, Consumer Reports says. And today’s energy-efficient dishwashers have your hand-washing game beat, too.

The National Resource Defense Council reports that the average modern dishwasher uses just 3 to 5 gallons of water per load, but the most efficient hand-washer will use 8 gallons. “Regular” hand-washers (you know, those of us who don’t operate like robots) typically use around 27 gallons of water and twice the amount of electricity per load.

The only time you might pre-rinse dishes is when you’re not going to run the dishwasher right away (leaving dirty dinnerware out could attract critters, and the mess might be more difficult to clean the longer you let it sit). But even then, you should let your dishwasher do the heavy-lifting, so you don’t waste water and energy.

“Simply load them in the dishwasher and run a ‘rinse only’ cycle,” says Forte.

4. It’s a needless time-suck — especially when have so many other things to do.

We know, your mom taught you to rinse, and old habits die hard. But pre-rinsing is a task you can feel good about shirking.

And, if you do own a dishwasher, ditch the hand-washing habit, too. Using an Energy Star-rated dishwasher instead of scrubbing by hand can save you 230 hours — almost 10 days! — over the course of year. You really do have time to catch up on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, after all.

Why We Buy Things We Don’t Need

You know that feeling of standing in your closet filled with clothes, but you have nothing to wear?

Most people believe that feeling is the brainchild of evil of branding and marketing experts conspiring to make you addicted to wanting more stuff.

Trust me, marketers wish they could dupe you into buying things you don’t want. Heck, I’d be a billionaire by now if we’d cracked that.

The simple truth is you can’t make people buy something they don’t want.

You can, however, make people buy things they don’t need.

I arguably don’t need more than one shirt. Functionally, it covers me and protects me from nature.

But I NEED 12 shirts because if I show up to client meetings in the same outfit over and over again, there are tangible consequences to my career.

In the best-case scenario it becomes a “thing” and I get to make a social statement about it (ergo, The Jobs Turtleneck). In the worst-case scenario, it becomes a point of mockery that comes with not-so-nice implications about my character (Exhibit A).

Given the track record of my life, it’s gonna be the latter.

Which means, I’m not being materialistic when I go on a shopping frenzy for shirts. I’m being practical.

Odds are, so are you. Because the real reason we buy things we don’t need is not as simple as “we’re vain materialistic capitalists!” The real reason has to do with how shopping came to be in the first place.

Shopping was invented

Back in the day, the ultra wealthy were the only ones who had lots of things. And they certainly did not “shop” for them.

Clothing was made by a custom tailor, art was commissioned or inherited, and dinnerware was a family heirloom. You got bragging rights for quality, durability, and longevity.

If you weren’t wealthy, then you were SOL.

Normal people had fewer things because they were difficult to manufacture and produce (and therefore, expensive).

The idea of something being disposable or portable or cheap didn’t exist. Plastic wasn’t mainstream yet, aluminum was just being invented, and only one company had an assembly line.

There wasn’t much to shop for because you couldn’t produce anything at scale (yet).

You had one coat. One pair of gloves. One pair of shoes. One pair of pants. And you took care of your stuff because you didn’t have much of it.

Plus, you didn’t need more things because upward mobility wasn’t a reality for most people.

If you were a servant, for example, you didn’t need nice dancing shoes or a tie bar. Where would you use them? You had your servant outfit and your casual outfit and that was it. You weren’t doing anything besides working and sleeping.

The notion of “options” for ordinary people was revolutionary.

There’s a great scene in the PBS series Mr. Selfridge (about the mogul who brought the department store to London) where Mr. Selfridge walks into a glove store and asks to see more options.

The lady who helps him is promptly fired as a result of her behavior. To be clear, her “behavior” was helping a customer browse options.

The scene is fictional, but the point still stands: You went into a store to buy something or you didn’t go in at all.

It was all very practical and very formal. “You need something to cover your hands because it’s cold? Here is something to cover your hands. Good-bye.”

You chose from what they gave you. There was no “shopping around” because there were no other places to go.

Shopping, in its inception, introduced the freedom of expression and freedom of choice into the mainstream.

It was the first time in history where things that were confined to the upper class were suddenly accessible to anyone.

Consider the first soap bar you didn’t have to make yourself. Or the first pair of gloves you didn’t have to sew yourself. Or the first pair of shoes you didn’t have to wear daily. Or the first pencils you could get in en masse.

(Side note: in getting distracted while writing this article, stumbled upon this awesome history of tape, another thing we didn’t have.)

All of these things are staples in our lives today, but they weren’t for most of human history.

Technically, we didn’t need any of them for survival, but they made life easier and more efficient.

These things made it so you weren’t concerned 24/7 with the business of survival. You could concern yourself with thriving.

That was emancipation my friends, not materialism.

Increased access to “things we don’t need” (or, more accurately, “things we lived without for centuries, but now have”) had massive cultural consequences.

Consider this: You’re a woman who’s worked as a ladies’ maid for 25 years.

You watched your masters live in luxury for 25 years. They go to exclusive parties and events decked out in fancy clothes, nice fabrics, and all the latest styles. You dreamed of donning those outfits, but it’s always been just that — a dream.

Then the department store comes along.

That nice dress you’ve been dreaming about for 25 years is suddenly accessible to you.

No. Where are you going to go in that kind of dress?

Except in your mind, you’re not thinking about the use of the dress. Because you were never buying “a dress.”

You were buying your permission slip into a life you never dreamed possible for you.

We never buy what we think we’re buying.

We don’t buy things.

We buy how things make us feel.

No one has a desire to own Uggs.

You have a desire to be comfortable and a desire to fit in. That’s why you buy Uggs.

And when you wear your Uggs, you get the feelings that you purchased. You feel comfortable and you feel like you fit in with your group of friends.

This is further evidenced by the reasons people cite for not buying Uggs: They do not want to feel like they fit in with the kinds of people who would buy Uggs.

Because purchases are emotional.

No matter how inconsequential of a purchase decision you deem it — you’re still choosing it based on emotion. Even commodities.

“ But I just pick the cheapest and move on with my life. How is that emotional?”

It’s emotional because there are implications about you built into the purchase.

If you view yourself as a salt-of-the-earth self-made man immune to the effects of advertising, well, buying cheap is very emotional because it affirms your self-concept.

Self concept: “I’m smarter than every other shopper, they’re fallin’ for this brand bull$%^&. Mmm mm not me.”

Try getting someone like that to buy the expensive bolt at the hardware store.

If they do, they’ll be pissed about it ALL day. You don’t get pissed about things you don’t feel something about. Pissed is an emotion.

More than affirming your self-concept, you’re also not buying what you think you’re buying.

You think you’re buying a bolt, but you’re actually buying that teaching moment you’re about to have in the backyard with your son.

Same thing with a gym membership. You’re not buying a gym membership. You’re buying your dream body.

Same thing with green juice. You’re not buying green juice. You’re buying permission to be naughty later without feeling guilty.

Same thing with a table. You’re not buying a table. You’re buying your fantasy social life where you host parties with wealthy friends who set their drinks on your expensive table.

You’re never buying what you think you’re buying.

Thanks to shopping-as-emancipation from restrictive social, economic, and gender norms, we started this whole “materialism” thing on a really positive note.

Which is why it’s really tough to undo it all now that we have plenty of stuff.

“Stuff” equaled upward mobility, convenience, and portability. Stuff made life easier. Stuff made life better.

We’ve set up a system where “stuff” is a prerequisite for success.

(You try getting a job without a smart phone and only one pair of pants. Good luck to you.)

Stuff wasn’t ever about stuff.

It was and still is about success. About moving up in the world. About a life bigger and better than the one you have.

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