Needs vs. Wants

The American dream is to work hard and have a plentiful, peaceful life for our family. What that looks like and how we get there is different for each person. When faced with a spending decision, knowing if what you are buying is a need or a nice to have can help.  We have to spend money on needs, but wants are important to spend money on too. Some responsible things to consider are when to spend and how much.

For wise spending, we look at what we want and what we have to make decisions like if we will drive a sports car to work, or a reliable vehicle that fits our family and gets reasonable gas mileage.

As a young person we might be deciding to spend our weekly allowance on a new video game or gas for going out with friends on the weekend.

A new mom might be considering giving up her morning drive-thru coffee to create spending room to pay a babysitter.

Some of the basic things we need to have are food, shelter, clothes and transportation. The kinds of food we eat, house we live in, clothes we wear and car we drive are the choices we get to make.

If there is something you want, here are a few steps to help make a responsible purchase:

  1. Figure out how much it costs. Shop for options and decide what is most important. Consider things like brands, quality, how it looks, how many features it has, and how long you need it to last to find the best choice for you.
  2. Look at your current spending. If it makes sense, get it! If it seems a little out of reach, make a plan.
  3. Decide how much extra you need. Are there any places in your current spending you can give something up for a short time to make room? If it is a big difference, break it down into weekly or monthly amounts over a longer period of time.

Needs and wants are different for each person. One person might really need something, while another has it and wants to get another or a different one. There are no right or wrong answers. The common goal is to be responsible and live a peaceful life.

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