A little while ago, I wrote about Gadget Lust - that is, wanting to get the latest and greatest gadgets. It sometimes seems to cause a constant battle in my head between wanting a cool new toy and knowing that it's not practical or, in some cases, not even very useful.
A recent event caused the conflict to flare up again. The retailer Staples issued a coupon for $100 off any tablet in stock. Ooohh - could I afford one now? I went to the website and looked at what was available. Then I started looking up reviews to see which ones were the best. The more I looked into it, the more I wanted one. I started justifying why I needed to get one and had myself pretty much convinced that I deserved it. Then something happened. I don't remember exactly when I had the realization - either while talking with my wife, or studying my scriptures, or some combination of the two, but I realized that a huge portion of my desire for a tablet had come from allowing myself to obsess about it.
That was my big epiphany. The more I think about something I want, the more I want it. Once I made that realization, I was able to drag myself back to reality and realize that, apart from the coolness factor, I really didn't know why I wanted one so much. So, I still don't have a tablet but I saved myself a fair chunk of change (for me anyway) and I probably saved myself some disappointment at buying something that really isn't useful to my right now.
So here's my advice, avoid spending too much time thinking, wanting, etc. unnecessary things. If you get your wants and needs closely aligned, you will find that your expenses become significantly less. In other words, the best way to keep yourself from buying things you don't need is not to want those things. If you can do that (and it's quite a bit more difficult to do than to say), you can save a lot of money.
I think it's human nature to spend a lot of time thinking about the things we want. Conversely, we may find that the things we spend a lot of time thinking about become the things we want. So don't let good advertising (or coupons) control what you desire.