My best advice here is to put everything on an Amazon list, even items you don’t intend to buy on Amazon! I have been using this trick for a few years, and it has helped me save thousands already. Marketing works on the premise of making us believe we are in desperate need of something, even before we know it exists. Our brain, who always craves more safety, wants us to acquire and accumulate more. It is in our nature. Advertisers and marketing teams know that, and they exploit it.
By using a “buy later” list, you take your head out of the “run for safety” mode that dominates the internet, and everywhere else that show advertisements.
So, what is essential?
Apart from the basic daily needs for food and shelter, one necessary category of purchases includes anything required for school when you have kids, or anything essential for maintaining and replenishing for your job. In this context, essential refers to anything that is absolutely required by your job or family. This doesn’t include items that could eventually improve your work or family. It is not for new gadgets that you think you need. All of these “gadgets” need to be questioned before purchasing, but you cannot do that without thinking for a bit. Hurried purchases usually lead to regret and that is why the “buy later” list can help you make better shopping decisions.
In the end
Sorting out what’s essential is a matter of understanding what is important to you. Some say that you shouldn’t keep what you don’t use or love. But, when it comes to acquiring new stuff, I would say that essential needs like food, shelter, health and work are a priority. Everything else should be “tested”. By that, I mean that you need to test over time the items you don’t love to understand if they are adding something, or taking away from your life.