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May 08, 2012


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We completely agree that you should not limit yourself to only your needs. I fell into this trap years ago and learned a very valuable lesson (I put a link to the blog I wrote about it below). Sometimes you have to splurge and enjoy life and money. If you can do it responsibly, it can curtail excessive spending in the future. The trick is balance and budgeting to plan for these things.
Shawn @ Managing The Money Wars

I know of a guy who needs to lease his Caddilac so he can drive a new caddy. I also know of people who need to buy there lottery tickets.

I can do without both.

It is all a matter of what you really want in life.

I wish I could send this to a friend of mine, but it will fall on deaf ears, She can't tell the difference between a want and a need, and is being barraged by debt collectors. I asked her, "What lifestyle changes are you going to make?" Her answer was to get a job at Target (she's retired). Sure, it *may* help, but lifestyle changes, like giving up on an expensive hobby, cable tv, etc, will make it faster.

Delaying a purchase is a great strategy. You might not even want it after a few days away to think about it.
I think most people n the US confuse need and want. This is from watching too much TV and living in an affluent society. Everyone should take a little time to travel to other countries and see the real meaning of needs and wants.

It has really bothered me when friends have pressured me to purchase something. The implication was that I was not normal without this item or that we were not going to be friends unless I bought what they had bought. It was almost as it they needed me to buy the same thing do affirm their choice. Listen. Your discretionary spending is your business but don't force me to follow you when I may not want what you want.

Another distinction between wants and needs is amount, even if you buy expenses close to the need level if you buy too many items you are going into the need level.
Need: A few sets of cloths.
Want: A walk in closet full of cloths- so that you never wear some of them.
Need: 1 car for the family**
Want: 1 car for everyone in the family.
** A car is really only a need in a rural area as you could use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike for much less in an urban or suburban area.
Life is lot better when we get more than our basic needs as basic needs are pretty miserly. Even an average salary in the US allows for a lot of wants. I know I have far more than my basic needs, even though I don’t make a huge salary and I save a lot.
I think it is very useful to be aware of how much of my spending is for wants not needs. I also try to be thankful that I can afford so many wants- I do find thinking about how many wants I already have makes me feel richer and makes me more willing to spend closer to the need level as I already have so much.

-Rick Francis

I like to use both the 10 second rule and the 30 day rule. Before putting anything in my shopping cart, I wait 10 seconds and think through whether I really need the item or not. For larger purchases, I wait 30 days before buying it. If by that time I still really want it, I buy it. But usually by then the urge has passed, and I don't get it.

Needs and wants are really two different things. For me, needs would be something that is essential for you to live while want would mean those things where you can still live even if you're without it. I make sure to buy just what is needed.

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