Want Versus Need

Want vs. Need
IMG: via Shutterstock

You’re at the mall…just browsing…when you see the cutest sweater EVER!  It would be the best fall accessory now that the weather is getting colder.  You know how good it would look with skinny jeans and your boots.  What’s more?  It’s on sale.  Think of how much money you would be saving.  You have to get it now.

Does this sound like you?  If so, you may be the definition of an impulsive buyer.  You see, you like, you buy.  One sweater may not break the bank, but think about what this may mean over time.  It’s a sweater here, a vanilla latte there, a new I-pod case here.  Pretty soon you’re broke, and you still feel like you didn’t get that much stuff.  Where has all the money gone?

You know you’re a good person because you volunteer at the retirement home or the aquarium.  You give your leftovers to homeless people on the street and you coach little league.  Why is it that money can be such a sticky subject for so many people?  These are witty, educated charitable people.

There is a clear difference between wanting something and needing it.  Yet, that line gets blurred for a lot of people.  Teenagers are often the culprits, but not always.  If you have a teenager, you may have heard, “But I really neeeeed it!” The need part is drawn out and often pronounced in a whiny voice.  Please do not give in to that type of voice ever.  If you do, you only encourage hearing it again.

Try your very best to both model and teach a “want” versus a “need.”  We all need food, water, shelter and, yes, clothing.  Notice we did not say designer clothing.  Oh, and we didn’t say mansion for shelter either.  If you can afford a mansion and designer clothing, great.  If not, count yourself among the majority.

We are not saying don’t ever buy anything which you want.  That would be a little sad if you never got what you wanted.  Just try to stick to a budget, plan ahead for the best bargains and do your very best to avoid impulse buys – often conveniently located right next to the cash register.

Lastly, don’t be fooled by the word “sale.”  It is a four letter word after all.  Many stores have “sales” going on all the time.  What they are really doing is selling you something at the regular price.  They just attach the word sale to it, and voila, you are getting a deal.  Truthfully, you didn’t save a dime.

Many people feel they are saving money by buying things on sale.  However, how can you be saving so much money while simultaneously spending heaps?  Hmmm…stay at home and save a lot more sometimes.  If you don’t go to the mall in the first place, you save 100 percent of your money.

Instead play a board game, watch tv, go for a jog, cook something fun, chat online with friends, do a crafting project, organize all the photos on your computer, hang out with your family, read a book or magazine or just take a nap.  There are a lot of free activities to occupy your time.  Enjoy the freedom to save all your money and still have fun.  Your pocketbook will thank you.