HomeSpendingDo You Buy More Than You Need?

Do You Buy More Than You Need?

I was flipping through the channels last week when I found a woman on the QVC channel selling a desktop computer. I like to keep tabs on certain technology products (mostly computers and external hard drives) just to keep track of the trends. I’ve coveted an external hard drive for years, and when the prices hit $30 for 250GB, possibly around Black Friday, I’ll pull the trigger. I don’t NEED one, but it would be nice to have a real place to backup my files.

Anyway, the woman on the QVC channel was rattling off all the cool features. The monitor was very large, which everyone loves, the processor was extremely fast, and the hard drive was humungous.

Just how big? 500GB, “which is enough to store over 50,000 songs, 75,000 pictures, AND 100 movies! Do you understand how much that is? More than you could possibly use!”

First, let’s take a second to think about how old you would have to be to have that many pictures and songs. If you can fill it, you probably have recorded some original Mozart. And your family pictures probably include some great shots of the gladiators in the Collosseum.

Second, is that woman you trying to sell something that nobody can use?

I’m sure there are a lot of people who bought this computer because it was at a reasonable price. But I’m also sure that a lot of people who didn’t need that large of a hard drive were sucked in and end up buying more than they needed.

People make purchases far larger than necessary simply because they can constantly. Think about the 64oz soda you’re about to buy. Sure, it’s only 20 cents more, but do you really need 64 ounces of soda?! That’s ridiculous!

In short, we shouldn’t let sheer quantity dictate our purchases. We need to spend our money wisely and focus on quality first.

Readers, when do you make purchases that are larger that necessary. Have you ever bought something such a large quantity that it was “more than you could possibly use?”



  1. Absolutely right here….. When I do get more than I need I try and give the extra away as a gesture…. For example, 2 for 1 in a pizza restaurant. If I want Pizza, i’ll take the deal and then give the free one to a homeless person, it’s worth the extra spend for that if say the pizza rest up the road was still cheaper for one.

    Soda is annoying as I would drink 64oz if I had it…. So best for me is to buy none!

    • @Forest, very noble of you. For everyone else who doesn’t do this, either start, or get the person behind you in line to split the cost. Turn 2 for 1 into half price.

      • @Daniel, Absolutely! If these companies can afford half price I wish they would just do it all the time for humanities sake :)

        • @Forest, I think the biggest culprit is Jos. A Bank. They constantly have buy one get one free. That sounds great, but the suits are then $500! Just give me something reasonable and stop playing tricks on me!

        • @Daniel,

          Don’t even get me started on Jos A Bank. My husband went in there, and he isn’t very assertive. They put him in a suit, barely asked him if he liked it, marked it up, and sold it to him. It was 2x the amount that he and I discussed, and way more than the sale that they had going….

  2. I have definitely bought things in too large a quantity to use. There are times when you get sucked in and you think how a great a deal something is and so you swipe it up. Then you never get around to using it. I did this with some pork loin that was on sale. I picked up like 10lbs of pork loin and “froze” part of it thinking I would use it later. Almost a year later it is just a block of freezer burned garbage now.

    Just because it is a deal doesn’t mean you should snatch it up.

    • @Kyle C., Lol we bought 5 lbs of chicken and stuck it in the freezer. We didn’t realize just how much 5 lbs of chicken is, so when we finally defrosted it, we had to cut off about 1/3 of it because of the freezer burn. Next time we need to cut it up BEFORE freezing it.

  3. I have heard of huge hard drives and 500GB is certainly humongous. I use a 160GB hard drive which is about 50% still empty. I don’t understand people buying such huge amount of hard drives only because their prices are low. One of my friend uses a 240GB hard drive and is struggling to fill the space in it.

    • @Financial Samurai, I love it. The problem with Costco for me is that when I buy 15 lbs of potatoes at once, I’m either eating them every single night or a lot of them go to waste. It’s not worth it for many perishable foods because you have to force yourself to eat it or it will go to waste. So either way really, it’s a waste.

  4. The short answer to this is no. We do buy some things in bulk, or a large quantity of something (like big packages of chicken when they are on sale), but those items do get used.

    This is one pet peeve of mine for people who “buy” items because after coupons it is “free.” I have watched on line where people will buy 10 glucose checkers….what on Earth will they do with these???? Or they get 200 packages of cookies.

    Generally speaking, I am not a super sizer.

    • @Mysti, I definitely hear that. If it’s something you’re going to buy anyway, then I have no problem stocking up on something useful. But if it’s going to sit in your garage for 3 years until you clean up and realize you don’t need, just pass.

  5. I am constantly buying more than I need at the grocery store, or buying things that I just don’t need in the first place. I get sucked into the whole “wow, it’s 10% off” or “wow, it’s 2 for 1” lines of thinking – and end up buying things that I probably can’t even use. Normally I’m not like this, but for some reason when I go to the grocery store the logical thinking goes out the window – especially when I’m hungry! :)

    • @Money Smarts, when I go to the mall, I laugh at 40% off signs. When the “regular” price is through the roof, I’m not surprised that they’re able to offer such an “amazing discount”

  6. Almost all “computing stuff” is too much! Do I really need a 1.8GHZ processor at home if all I am doing is running my small little blog? Whenever asked I always tell people to get the model above the lowest priced computer in the store and it will last you for years.

    • @Evan, Very true. But how can you resist? It’s very hard to say that you’re going to buy something that’s low end compared to your other options.

  7. With some technology, I think it’s better to buy a little bigger than you need. Like when your parents would say, You’ll grow into it!

    When I got my first MP3 player, I got a 20 GB hard drive because I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t have to keep upgrading, and it worked. We also tend to go middle-of-the-road on computers. That way, we have a little more than we need, so we’re not as tempted by the newer, faster stuff as it comes out. Well, not as tempted.

    That said, yeah it’s far too easy to get far too much. For example, Tim hates to watch a movie without popcorn. So my big concession (no pun intended) is let him get the $7.50 (!) popcorn. The large, of course. Even though we never finish it and, really, it rarely lasts more than 20 minutes into the movie. It simply doesn’t occur to us to get a small.

    • @Abigail, That’s true to some extent. I remember the computer I got for college – why would I need more than 30GB of space? Well, over time, I was able to download movies, which I didn’t plan on doing. At 1-2GB each, it filled up quite quickly and I had to delete the old stuff to make way for the new ones!

  8. It’s not just purchases larger than necessary but also the fact that in a lot of instances the purchase is just not necessary that is wasteful. Human nature these days seems to be to always expand to fill the available space.

  9. This is constantly a problem for me as well because we like shopping at stores like Sam’s Club. However, I am a lot more discriminating when it comes to purchasing perishables now. You often don’t save anything when you have to throw out the extra food.

  10. @parag : I absolutely agree with you. i am also using a 160 hard disk and it is more then enough almost every time it is left empty.
    No need to buy a 500 gb hard disk. But still a good post.

  11. We buy more than we need all the time, but not to that extent. We have a 3 bedroom house but there’s just the hubby and me. One bedroom is currently being used as temporrary storage of items I’m trying to Craigslist…

  12. Great Article! We all buy into the ‘up-sells’ all of the time. Why buy a 50 inch T.V. when you can have a 52 inch T.V. for only $75 more? I’ve also noticed the warranty that everyone tries to sell you. Apparently it’s the biggest ‘scam’ going and that’s where a company makes most of its money. I always so no to that offer!

    This article has made my top 5 for the week!

    Cheers and keep up the great work!


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