We buy things because we need them. Right? Um... No, not right. Does a 10 year-old need two (2) Wii and and (2) Xbox consoles, one for home and one for granny's house? Does an adult need 15 bottles of fragrance? Does the 15 year-old really need a $500 smartphone plus another $50 worth of bling and accessories for it? Wait. Cool off. Then decide how the purchase fits in to the context of your budget and your lifestyle. This goes for large and small purchases - whether you are in Best Buy, online or in the Dollar Store.
That is the amount spent on advertising in U.S. last year. It's no wonder we buy things that we don't need, and replace things that look and work just fine. Sometimes adults and kids want and buy things simply because someone they know or admire has them.
Wait. Waiting a short period of time before buying that non-necessity can help cut your spending a lot. And, I mean a lot. Make a deal with the other spenders in your household that you will each wait at least 24 hours before purchasing that brand new iPad that won't make you any more efficient, productive or prosperous than already are using your laptop, desktop or other computer. Oh, and it likely won't make the buyer any happier either -- in the long run. It might bring about short-term joy, pride, giddiness or even elation. However, how long that lasts may depend on when some of that $130+ Billion in advertising bucks causes some product or service you had not thought about buying to catch your attention or fill a perceived. Since we are being marketed and advertised to constantly, the next item that you don't need is always awaiting your purchase.
The Savings Plan.
Involve everyone that adds and/or takes money from the household piggy bank.
Decide what is a fair amount of time to wait before making a purchase of a non-necessity. It could be different for each person, or may vary dependent on the item. For example, if Daddy-O wants to replace his garage workbench with a shiny new built-in workbench and storage unit like the neighbor just bought for $700, perhaps a week or two would be a good waiting period. Since it is not likely a necessity, why not wait a month? How could anyone say no with a straight face, or at least a second thought? It could be interesting to keep a running list of how many other items Daddy-O might decide he wants during that month.
Since "wanters" are often repeat offenders and want to purchase more unnecessary items than others in your clan, perhaps a longer cooling off period might apply for that "wanter".
The Mad Men and Women of Madison Avenue are very good at what they do: Getting you to spend your money. It is up to you and no one else to decide what and when to buy. Well, I say call a time-out and wait before you buy. Then when you are ready to buy, remember: Never Pay Retail. Shop for the best deal you can get by looking and waiting for sales, using coupons, cash back on credit cards, etc.