Need vs. Want, that is the question.

A dear friend has the most recently released iPhone.  They appear quite complicated with their touch screens.  It rang (well, it actually played a song) and since my friend’s hands were wet, she asked me to silence it. I looked at this phone and I had not a clue how to answer since there were no visible buttons to actually push.  My phone still has visible buttons to push to answer or ignore the call (I always answer).  I just touched the screen and her husband’s name popped up as he said “hello.” My initial response was to jump.  I was surprised that my simple action of touching the screen would connect the call.  I awkwardly told my friend’s husband that she would be “right there.” 

 I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of options available just by touching the screen.  What if I had disconnected the call?  What if I had damaged the instrument in some way?  Part of me would love to have one and the other part of me is hesitant.  How much would my life be enriched by the having one of these gadgets?  Do I really need one?  Do I really need access to the internet on my phone? Do I need to have “an app” for that? Talk about advertising placement!  That phase has made its way into dictionaries! (well, a few lexicons, at least.)  Do I really need to update my Facebook page with “check-ins” at every place I go? Do all my FB friends need to know when I check in at the grocery store?  More importantly, do they care?  Sure, it would be cool and I’d be a “hip mom” according to my daughter, but I always come back to the question of need.

 Adding in to the justification for the need, is this something that I can really afford?  I often worry about paying the bill for the cell phone I already have! Do I really want to add to my worry and increase that bill for what may be a passing whim?  Some folks can always justify this part of the equation as want and need being the same thing.  However, I do not.  Not being a person with an endless supply of money to meet the costs of all my bills, let alone my whims; and my conscience always playing a role in all my purchases, I simply cannot fathom a need for a phone with a constant connection to the internet.  It would be nice, but it would also be nice to have a housekeeper, a chef and a person to drive me around, yet I don’t need them!  I am able to do all of the work those folks would do myself and just think of all the money I would be saving!  If I need to look up something on the internet, then I can wait until I get home.  Look at all the money I’d save!

I could also justify getting a new cell phone by thinking of it as boosting the economy.  That is something that is a plus, but would I really be helping the local economy or make some already rich shareholder richer?  I realize that this is a stretch, but it is an economic truth.  I did that two years when I actually upgraded to a better phone instrument.  It’s a perfectly good phone that is still in excellent condition.  I am far better at caring for phones than my husband.  He is the reason why cell carriers have insurance and actually make money on it.

After much thought (and household budget review), an new cell phone is out of the question.  I mean, I’m looking online for coupons for stuff I need, how do I think I can afford the luxury of this phone?  I don’t.  Maybe by the time I can afford one, the price will drop.  That is an economic reality.  Patience IS a virtue. 

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2 thoughts on “Need vs. Want, that is the question.

  1. List of X April 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Ironically, I am reading this from a phone, so while I can’t say it’s an absolute necessity, it is certainly very useful when the family’s PC is busy. 🙂
    Did you ever try looking for older smartphone models? These toys can be very expensive, but but their prices drop once the newer version is out.

    • kodonivan April 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion! I really hadn’t thought of that! 🙂

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