Seriously—you don't. You might think you do right now. You might think that you need a new HD Tivo, or a new shirt, or even a new pair of shoes, but you probably don't.
People get way too caught up in all of the shit that they insist on owning. Why should you cut out a lot of this shit? Shit usually complicates…well…shit. You don't feel as free to move to a new place when it means hiring somebody to move all of this shit. Shit also is basically money that takes up space. For example, think about all of the DVDs that you own. Now, think about how often you've actually watched anything from your DVD collection. The only DVDs that I can recently remember watching that are from my collection are The Departed and a few seasons of It's Always Sunny. I do have Netflix streaming, but that allows me to stream a ton of movies for about half of what a Blu-Ray costs. The simple lesson out of all of this is that if you aren't using it, you wasted your fucking money.
I realize people buy things for a lot of reasons. For some people, shopping makes them happy. They can go out with a fist-full of cash (or plastic) and have some control over what they're buying. Some people are (oddly) worried about "keeping up with the Joneses." I've never really understood why people do this—who cares if the asshole next door has a nicer set of golf clubs/car/couch than I do? At the end of the day, it's all just shit. You are not defined by your possessions. You are defined by your actions. How you treat other people, what you do with your short time on this planet—those are the things that make you you. Not the Starbucks Super-Froth Espresso Maker 5000 or some dumb-ass watch from Switzerland.
By not buying this kind of shit, you ensure that you can retain your freedom. You don't go into debt to buy a bunch of stupid shit, so you have more freedom to do what you want with your life. You don't have as much shit, so you have more flexibility to move about and try new things. Believe me, I know. In law school, I bought all kinds of DVDs, clothes I didn't need, and fancy meals just for the hell of it. I was living like a big city lawyer, but without any income! As a result, I ended up with five-figures of credit card debt. At the time I thought I was still okay because I had a high-paying job waiting for me. Then the economy went in the shitter, and firms started canning young attorneys like Spam factories. There I was, a newly-minted lawyer, at a job where there was little work and the constant threat of layoffs, and a mountain of credit card debt, to boot.
Fortunately, I kept my job and have long since paid all of that debt off, but I was fucking stupid to put myself in that position in the first place! Do I use any of that shit I bought in law school anymore? No. I'm too fucking fat for any of the clothes (though making progress on that front), and I never really want to make a commitment to watching a whole movie at home. The expensive food is long gone—the only shit that isn't still in my collection (quite literally). Stop letting your shit own you. Good, nourishing food. Some kind of shelter. Probably a computer of some sort. Solid, functional, appropriate clothing. These are really the only things you need. Don't be like me—instead of buying stupid shit, go out and do something that you want to define you. Write a book. Make a movie. Get a new hobby. Just don't fucking shop for more stupid shit!
Questions? Comments? A few too many "shits" in there? E-mail me at email@example.com.