I’ve seen How the Diderot Effect Explains Why You Buy Things You Don’t Need shared all over the web. It’s a neat little bit of history. Times have changed, but the need to “have nice things” has grown beyond just wanting nice things for yourself. Now it’s all about showing other people what nice things you have – even when you know you don’t really need a particular nice new thing… like a new iPhone every year.
The reality is that while a smartphone is almost a necessity for most people these days, a five-year-old iPhone would probably suit your needs (provided the battery still holds up). But we want the latest games and gadgets, necessitating the purchase of a new phone. And boy are we proud to show-off the new phone to everyone we know.
For me, it was software. There was a time when I wanted the latest and greatest piece of software… even when I had a suitable app that did the same thing already, it just wasn’t “new.”
At some point, everyone comes to the realization that they DON’T actually need nice new things, and can make-due with what they have. Once I realized that, and stopped caring about showing off the latest dingus I purchased to everyone, I had a lot more money in my pocket and found more satisfaction in other aspects of life.