For those of you who have never made a spontaneous buy, heartily pat yourself on the back and disregard the rest of this reminder, which was made in spirit of this holiday season.
Earlier this month, I found myself on the home page of Coin, a San Francisco-based startup with its only product being a sleek, matte black card capable of storing magnetic strip information from up to 8 other cards. I scrolled down the page and the more I read, the more I was convinced that my wallet was too fat with the four cards I had (four is A LOT), that I really needed a card capable of getting rid of that ungodly weight and thickness that comes with four cards, and that I too could be as suave as the men in the promotional video, whipping out their Coin to pay for purchases. My cursor gravitated towards the "Pre-order Now" and before I knew it, I was typing my debit card information into the form.
Luckily for my savings, the transaction was not approved and I shambled on down the path of post-work, online meddling (take that, procrastination!) before I could rectify my purchase. I didn't realize this until I checked my banking email account the next day. By then, I no longer wanted it and thought that it was pointless to have a card that had to be linked to my phone so that any hypothetical mugger would hypothetically have a hard time hypothetically mugging me, a card that had a life-span of two years due to an embedded battery that would power the card to let me choose amongst my four cards (no, four is not a lot), and a card whose main selling point was to reduce the thickness of my wallet.
Even when I wanted the Coin, did I need it? No, and although one can make the argument that no one ever needs anything outside of necessities for basic living, purchasing the Coin was pointless for me considering I only had four cards that I would never forget at any establishment (plus many other reasons).
It's important* to differentiate between needs and wants, and this concept doesn't just apply to transactions in its most limited sense. Sure this might seem obvious, but it's easy to lose track of what is a necessity and what isn't. Since a necessity has such a mercurial definition per person, I'll leave you to decide what would be considered a stupid purchase/need. Happy deal hunting!
*Unless you're rolling in dough