Weeklong 6 | Do I Really Need This?

by Scott - No Comments

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This post is part of my Weeklongs Project.

The first week of this project I wrote about my experience getting rid of 5 things a day. In the spirit of shedding materialistic tendencies, a reader Brandon Rennels suggested I put a sticker on my wallet that forced me to think about the necessity of my purchases.

I took his advice and ordered some “Do You Really Need This” stickers from Zazzle. Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve had one on my credit card and the inside of my wallet.

I never buy myself “things” like clothes or gadgets. Most of my discretionary income is spent on experiences like going out with friends or skillshare classes. I also make some what I call “convenience purchases” – things that I enjoy and make my life easier, but don’t necessarily need. Coffee brewed by someone else, bottled water, and taxis fall into this category.

My hope was that these stickers would inspire greater self-awareness and help me reduce my convenience purchases. I’m disappointed to admit that I didn’t really see much of a change in my behavior. I still bought that coffee I didn’t really need and took a cab or two home when I could have hoofed it back to my apartment.

What I realized was that in most cases this self-awareness mechanism was too late in the purchasing funnel to be effective. By the time I’m in the checkout line the cost-benefit analysis for a purchase has already passed. I’ve made up my mind that I need this.

A product that made me ponder the necessity of a purchase earlier in the decision making funnel might be more effective. It’d have to know my behavior or location to a degree that allowed it to pre-empt these decisions. It’s not that far-fetched considering location aware technologies such as Shopkick omit push notifications when you enter stores.

…Or I could just improve my willpower and forget all these band aid solutions. Working on it ; )

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