One Off.

Determining Your ‘Needs’

“I need this adorable purse!” “I need to go to Starbucks to get my coffee before we hit the road.” In a consumer driven society, we do a great job at tricking ourselves into thinking that we really need something when in fact, we really don’t. Instead, we justify our purchases and upgrades that we make. Doing so can really stretch our monthly finances. We end up struggling to take care of the actual necessities so we can finance the things that we want.

Distinguishing the difference between our needs vs. our wants is one of the basic fundamentals of personal finance.  It’s also the first lesson to go out the window when it comes to making financial decisions.  By nature we are social beings and like to be accepted.  In return, we buy the latest and greatest things so we can blend in with our peers.

Examples of Needs & Wants

Let’s step back for a moment and do a quick review of what is a “need” and what is a “want.”

Need = necessity                                            Want = enhances the quality of life

Basic housing                                                      Luxury housing

Basic transportation                                          Luxury transportation

Nutritional Food                                                 Eating out

Basic clothing                                                     Designer clothing

Childcare                                                              Movies

Debt payments                                                   Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts coffee

Healthcare                                                           The list can go on and on…

Notice on the “needs” list that there is the word basic in front of housing, transportation and clothing, and nutritional in front of food.  On the “wants” list we have luxury items.  Basic is simply what is sufficient to get through the day.  If a 2200 sq ft home has sufficient space for your family then that is really all you need.  Do you need the car with all the gizmos and gadgets that will cost you $500 each month, when the car with not as many buttons and a lower payment will get you to point A and point B just fine?  Do you need the designer sweater for $75 when the not-as-popular brand will keep you just as warm and stylish?

jack johnson:better together

Here is one fun calculation to consider: a 16 oz latte costs an average of $3.59.  That equals to about 22 cents per ounce, which is $28.27 per gallon! We would never pay that much for a gallon of gas! Yet when it comes to our coffee, we have to have it.



There are a couple of exercises that can be done to refocus our priorities each month.

1. Look at your monthly budgets for the last month or two. Have a piece of paper handy or use a spreadsheet with 2 columns labeled: Needs and Wants.  Without justifying why you “need” something, place each item into a column.  It may take a few times to get the placement right, but eventually you will see that the “wants” column has a whole lot more stuff then the “needs” column.  From there, further review your “wants” list to see if there are things you can: cut out, cut back on, or find a less costly alternative to.

2. Keep a log for one day of all of the situations you encounter where wanting/needing comes up and record your thoughts or the outcome. This can help open our eyes to the daily choices we make and how we can improve decision making.

Sometimes, we just need to return back to basics to regain our financial stability.

This entry was posted in Budgeting Basics, Money Blog, Rebuilding Your Finances and tagged on by .
Kara Schulte

About Kara Schulte

Kara Schulte, MA, is a current AFC candidate as an AFCPE intern. Kara holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Campbell University and a master's degree in human services from Liberty University. She is a proud military spouse and soon-to-be mom for the first time. After working in the banking industry for several years, she noticed a strong need for financial education for consumers. Through her education and background, Kara strives to help those in need achieve financial stability.

52 thoughts on “Determining Your ‘Needs’

  1. Pingback: blog comment spam corpus

  2. Pingback: Seite besuchen

  3. Pingback: puffco plus battery problems

  4. Pingback: pax 3 draw

  5. Pingback: Dungeon

  6. Pingback: DMPK

  7. Pingback: Pengamat Klub Bola Legendaris

  8. Pingback: Bolide

  9. Pingback: slot games

  10. Pingback: Colarts Diyala

  11. Pingback: where to buy social signals

  12. Pingback: browse around here

  13. Pingback: click this link here now

  14. Pingback: Asian Dining Room Decorating Ideas

  15. Pingback: Software praktek dokter

  16. Pingback: cari kerja medan

  17. Pingback: Iraq coehuman

  18. Pingback: pharmacokinetics studies

  19. Pingback: wedding planners in hyderabad

  20. Pingback: diyala university college of engineering

  21. Pingback: house for sale

  22. Pingback: GVK BIO New Deals

  23. Pingback: Gvk Bio

  24. Pingback: Appliance repair North York

  25. Pingback: appliance repair Richmond Hill

  26. Pingback: 먹튀신고

  27. Pingback: warehouse for sale

  28. Pingback: SEO experts

  29. Pingback: BMW service Greensboro

  30. Pingback: satta matka, satta king, satta, matka, kalyan matka

  31. Pingback: forex signals

  32. Pingback: Java Tutorial

  33. Pingback: resources for disabled people battling addiction

  34. Pingback: check my blog

  35. Pingback: sciences

  36. Pingback: exemestane manufacturer

  37. Pingback: gitano

  38. Pingback: ADME CRO

  39. Pingback: daftar calon pns

  40. Pingback:

  41. Pingback:

  42. Pingback: transport medyczny międzynarodowy łódź

  43. Pingback: 안전놀이터

  44. Pingback: More about the author

  45. Pingback: new siriustube826 abdu23na3228 abdu23na53

  46. Pingback: sirius latest movs955 abdu23na9285 abdu23na47

  47. Pingback: tubepla414 afeu23na029 abdu23na0

  48. Pingback: tubepla590 afeu23na8012 abdu23na32

  49. Pingback: fknjn544a184 afeu23na1852 abdu23na28

  50. Pingback: 535VHina5vn

  51. Pingback:

  52. Pingback: Custom holsters

Comments are closed.