In this article, am going to share with you some of the items that I think are a little bit unnecessary in our modern society and life. I think that we spend so much money on unnecessary items that we don’t need. Oftentimes, many people live a life of excess that I think is detrimental to their financial situation.
Basically, the goal of this blog is to help you make money, manage and save money, and achieve financial freedom, even faster. If you can figure out how to save some money in some areas of your life which you don’t need to spend money on, that means you’re going to have money for other activities such as investing or spending money on things that we really prioritize in our lives like family, traveling, and experiences.
If you agree with any of these items in this article, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. You can share this article with someone you know that might need it. With that said, let’s get talking.
9 Unnecessary Items You Don’t Need To Buy
The first item on my list is;
1. The Newest iPhone Or The Newest Phone Every Single Year
It’s basically Apple’s job to attract the most money that it can from its customers, and they are very good at it. There’s a reason why they are one of the biggest companies in the world and the way that they do this, is by coming up with a refresh of their hardware every single year like clockwork.
Since the iPhone was invented in 2007, I believe Apple has literally almost had an event every single September announcing their newest and latest model. Early on I thought that this is probably okay, we’ll see huge improvements ins software and form factor, phones would get a little bit smaller, the cameras would get better and thinner, etc.
But, these days there’s hardly a difference between the iPhone 7 and 8, or the iPhone 11 and 12. There’s even less of a difference between the phones and their ex versions. I would even say that if you can wait two to three years before buying a new phone, that’ll still allow you to stay on the cutting edge of technology. That’s where basically you’ll notice a significant difference in the user experience, the ease of the device and speed, and other features.
Personally, I won’t buy a new phone unless there’s something very specific about the newest release that appeals to me and can be substituted for my current device. I just don’t think that upgrading every single year is worth it anymore, and I see many people fall into the trap of upgrading every single product cycle.
2. New Cars
New cars are pretty fancy and all that. But as you may or may not know, once you drive that car off of the Lot, the car is immediately worth way less. Sometimes even thousands of dollars less, and that’s due to depreciation. If you’re going to buy a car, the best value for a car on the depreciation curve is probably about three to four years used. Also, if you’re looking to figure out what the best value you can get is when buying a used car, just google the following phrase “depreciation curve + the making model of your car”
I think that too many people get caught up in the idea of a new car when in reality, if you buy a car that’s maybe three to four years used, or maybe someone leased it for just like a few years and has some really low mileage, you can actually get a really good deal. In fact sometimes up to 40 off the MSRP of the car.
Another thing to consider when buying a car is the make and model of the car. Some cars will depreciate way faster than others, while some retain their value very well. For example, I know that a lot of Jeep Wranglers out there retain their value very well, and some of the other cars out there like the BMW 5 series, or the Nissan leaf, actually have the worst appreciation out there with an average of 5 years depreciation and well over 70%.
I think that’s a big thing that a lot of people that buy new cars have, maybe they just can’t accept the fact that they’re driving a “used car”. Honestly, guys, if you can get over this ego or this pride that you may have in buying something that’s used, you’re going to be able to save a lot of money and enjoy yourself in other areas of your life.
3. Designer Sunglasses
These are the types of sunglasses that can run anywhere from $100 to $500 per pair. And the worst part of all these sunglasses in my opinion is that they’re made from the same parent company known as Luxottica. Luxottica basically has an entire monopoly on the sunglasses market, they own brands like Channel, Oakley, Persol, Ray-Ban, etc. They keep the price of sunglasses as high as possible to artificially inflate that market.
The thing with designer sunglasses is that they’re so expensive and you’ll lose them, damage them, or they’ll get stolen. And all of a sudden that’s a big investment that you’re no longer able to enjoy. I mean how easy it is to actually break a pair of sunglasses, pretend you just have them on the passenger seat and you throw your backpack on your seat because you’re really not that careful, and they can get damaged just like that. This type of situation can happen to anybody.
The main differentiating feature of sunglasses that I found is actually the polarized lenses, if you can find a cheaper alternative when it comes to sunglasses as I would opt for the $20 or the $40 pair with a little bit of polarization, then you’ll be a lot better off financially.
Designers sunglasses to me seem like a status symbol more than anything. When it comes to buying things just for status, I find that not very valuable while trying to be financially free. But, if you do find that you love designers sunglasses for some reason and you have a hard time quitting them. A good question to ask yourself is, “would you rather look rich or would rather be rich?”
I personally have in mind that it’ll be much better to spend that extra money on a nice vacation or a gift for your loved ones.
4. Sale Items
The purpose of a sale from a retailer’s perspective is to get customers to think that they’re getting a good deal on that product. There’s a reason why so many retailers choose to have tons of sales. For example, most of you frequently get tons of emails from brands and businesses about a 25% or 30% discount. They keep sending those emails frequently because they want you to perceive that for a short time their items are cheaper than they should be going for, inciting you to spend more money.
One of the ways to actually reduce your temptation to spend money on sales items like in the case of the example is to unsubscribe from their newsletters. And while am actually on the topic of newsletters, I guess this is a good time to plug my own newsletter. It is a weekly newsletter with a roundup of updates from this blog. Click here to subscribe. Unlike those pesky newsletters asking you to buy something for 25% off, mine is completely free of such emails and free to sign up. It’s just another way to stay connected to this blog.
I see a lot of people falling for these sales, and not only with clothes but with furniture and cars. If something is $500 off but it still ends up costing you $549, well, you’re still spending more money than you intended to spend initially.
Another interesting thing about sales is that retailers are still going to be making money on you. It’s not like they’re selling these items for miraculously fire sale price or they’re losing money. Actually, when you buy a sale item, something psychologically interesting happens which is known as the Diderot Effect. It’s basically where one purchase leads to a lot of chain reactions of purchases down the line. For example, let’s say you pick up an electric bike because it’s on sale, now you have to go and buy the helmet, you might want to buy a basket, a bell, or any other accessories that come with an electric bike. And all those costs really add up.
Am not saying to never buy anything on sale. I actually think it’s a good idea to buy things on sale if you know you’re going to buy them eventually. A good example of this is if you’re going to buy clothes in the winter, it’s might be a really good plan to pick up winter clothes on sale since you’re going to buy that purchase. The same thing with bulk purchases, if you’re going to buy things like detergents and toilet papers, if you do see a sale for that, that could save you money in the long run. Since those are purchases that you would’ve bought.
5. Happy Hour Drinks
One of the best things about the previous year in my opinion is that it really forced you to examine who you’re spending time with. With the pandemic now coming to end, we’re inevitably going to get asked for drinks or hang out with people we don’t really see that often. These are people that you might see once or twice a year or maybe they are co-workers of yours. And inevitably they’ll ask to get food or drink with them.
If you’re young and you’re living in the city, those drinks can add up to quite a lot of money even if you’re just doing it once or twice a month. What I like to do instead is just ditch the drinks, offer something healthy maybe go for a walk outside, even getting a coffee is going to be far less money than say spending money on cocktails at a swanky bar.
6. Cell Phone Insurance
Whenever you buy a new smartphone these days, because the phones are so expensive, they’ll inevitably ask you to spend money on an insurance plan. Apple care can get really expensive, being close to a couple of hundred bucks. I get, they’re really expensive items, and as an investment, you don’t really like to lose out on that investment, and you want to protect them as much.
The reason I don’t think that phone insurance is necessary is twofold, the first one is that am really careful with my phone. In general, am always putting a case on it and a screen guard. Secondly, am pretty cognizant of keeping it safe. If you aren’t that careful with your phone, you can get a credit card that offers cell phone insurance, you can just google that up and you’ll find a lot of cards that offer this type of protection built right into their perks.
Some cards even have a zero annual fee, so you can get this cell phone insurance completely for free. For example, the Chase freedom flex offers up to $800 per claim for a damaged or stolen phone as long as you use that card to pay your monthly cell phone bill. This is actually for my U.S audience.
If you do go this route and you get a credit that offers cell phone insurance and that card requires let’s say an annual fee, just make sure that you’re justifying the annual fee on that card with your annual spending. Always make sure you’re responsible with the card as well, make sure to pay it off in full, and don’t get into any unnecessary debt.
7. Cable TV Packages
These are crazy because the average price f cable TV packaging these days is between $85 to $100. This is one expense that’s easier to cut out in my opinion, because of all the different available options there are, are for streaming services. Personally, I don’t watch much TV but when I do watch TV, it’s typically network TV which is free, or I’ll just watch a show on Netflix which is a fraction of the price of cable TV.
If you’re into sporting events, you can often stream them for free online, or I’ve noticed that you can just subscribe to let’s say ESPN Plus which is $6 per month and gives you access to a lot of live sporting events.
Another thing I noticed with cable TV is that most people don’t even try to call and negotiate their plan anymore. So typically cable TV packages come with an introductory offer, they have for about 12 months and afterward they jack their prices up after the 12 months period. If you just make it a task to call in one every year or so, and just let them know in a nice way that you’re thinking of other offers, or maybe you’re canceling. You’ll more often than not get them to honor the same price that you signed up with.
I think there are people that are out there that often rag on others that have a Netflix or Hulu subscription, but if the alternative is paying like eight times more for cable TV, then I’d take that Netflix or Hulu subscription any day of the week.
8. Clothes You Wear Once
I used to buy clothes for special events and sometimes to impress someone. Am sure you’ve been there too. Maybe you buy a shirt or a suit or a dress just for one occasion like a wedding or work even. You end up just wearing it once because that item was made just for that occasion, and it ends up sitting in your closet for the rest of its life.
I actually bought a particular clothe that I feel really guilty wearing out for a normal occasion because I don’t want to get it ruined and the amount of occasions or situations it fits into is very limited. I think I’ve worn it just once since I bought it, and looking back at it, I think that purchase was completely unnecessary.
Whenever am buying a new piece of clothing these days, I’m looking to make the most use of that item. If I can’t envision myself wearing it at least ten times or more, then I’m just going to stay away from it. I definitely get the most value out of my clothing because I don’t switch it that often, I think that if you cut out some of those unnecessary expenses of one-time clothing that you’re only going to wear one day out of the year, you’re going to be a lot better off.
9. Delivery Apps
I know that during the year 2020 with the pandemic, we’re probably guilty of this. We spend so much time at home and going out to get food was probably a hassle and also riskier. If you did get this habit of ordering your food on delivery apps, you’ll know that ordering food from your favorite restaurants on Apps like DoorDash, UberEats, or Grubhub, definitely does not help your wallet.
Door Dash delivery fees, service fees, taxes, and tips can make a $15 meal closer to $30, and when you’re doing this on the regular, it can really add up. Not to mention the food typically gets to you pretty lukewarm and oftentimes they can get it wrong, and if they do get it wrong, there’s nothing that you can do about it.
One thing that I like to do to prevent myself from actually using delivery apps, is to remove the apps from my home screen, or you could just delete the apps as well, so any extra friction that you can put between you and ordering the food when you’re feeling lazy is gone.
Instead, try taking a walk and pick up the food, get some exercise. If you’re good at cooking, opt-in for a home-cooked meal instead. This can actually save you some money.
Am curious, I’d like to know what items above you agree or disagree with.
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