Tell Us Tuesday: Needs v Wants

by Kelly · 7 comments

in Tell Us Tuesday

Today’s Tell Us Tuesday comes from Lauren, who tweets as PathAcross and has a blog, also called Path Across– where she blogs about becoming self-reliant.

She says: here is a frugal question for your Tell Us Tuesday… “How do you define your “needs” vs. your “wants?”.

I have definitely gotten better over the years that I have been becoming frugal at telling needs from wants. One of the things that I often do is walk away from something, especially if it’s something big (over รขโ€šยฌ40). I take a long time to buy things, often visiting the website a few times, or waiting a while to go back to the store. I know if I forget it, then I didn’t really need it! If I remember it, and then I go back to the store or site but I’m still questioning the purchase, I ask myself if I would still buy it if it were on sale. I’ve walked away from quite a few ‘wants’ that way- and found some things I really did need!

How do you define your “needs” vs. your “wants?”.


1 Rhona May 11, 2010

I have employed this method for about a year also and it really works. Sometimes if I am lucky, when I go back to get that ‘need’, it is on sale making the purchase even better.

2 Abigail May 11, 2010

Usually, it’s a need only if it’s absolutely essential — that is, it replaces something we can’t do without or it protects something we need. For example, any car repair is treated as a no-brainer (unless it were cosmetic but so far no luck with that) and a laptop cooler is important to protect the items we have.

Most everything else is a want — it’s just a matter of how substantially it would improve our lives. I indulged in some magazine subscriptions about personal finance for blog fodder. I got each for $20 or less, plus 40% cash back, but it still wasn’t a necessity.

For me, I try to avoid any unnecessary expense over $20, though, really, pretty much any expense over $5 or so makes me want to get creative.
.-= Abigail´s last blog ..Vying for the geekiest couple award… =-.

3 Jersey Mom May 11, 2010

Food, water, clothing, and shelter are needs. Most things are wants. We do indulge in our “wants” and feel okay doing so as long as we’re within our budget.
.-= Jersey Mom´s last blog ..Money Schemes of a Kindergartener =-.

4 Lauren May 12, 2010

Oh hey! Thanks for taking this question Kelly ๐Ÿ˜€
To answer it myself –
One thing I do when I’m at say, Walmart or Target and I see something that is sort of sitting on the line between a need vs. a want, I ask myself the following questions:
1) Do I already have this?
2) Do I have something that I can use instead of this?
3) Will this truly benefit me / make a job easier, or will it become clutter?

Most of the time, I find that no, I don’t need it.

5 SimplyMe May 12, 2010

First, I no longer EVER shop for recreational purposes. That eliminates most “wants” right off the bat. Second, I’ve unsubscribed from all of my favorite retailers’ eblasts and un-bookmarked (de-bookmarked!?) their sites so browsing the latest collection isn’t part of my routine. That handles practically all wants. If I need something, it’s literally because I need it. New running shoes because mine are worn out, lightbulbs because mine are burnt out, a haircut because I look like a shaggy dog. I have no problem distinguishes needs from wants. It’s usually not gray – you either need it or want it, or you’re foolin’ yourself, and you know that too!
.-= SimplyMe´s last blog ..No thumb beats a “plastic thumb”ย =-.

6 MarionG May 12, 2010

Hi. I have found several things that have helped immensely with the journey from wants to needs. I never go into the malls or shops or internet shop sites unless I desperately need something. There is not much that qualifies on that front. That above all helps with the wants. I volunteer for an organization that provides free items(clothing, shoes, books, household items)to people in the area. As a volunteer we are able to choose a certain no. of items for ourselves and we get first choice. My budget for clothing items is likely close to a $1000 a year now for my family. That may sound like a lot but for us it’s not. The only time we shop for clothes is if an item is outgrown or worn out, and not available from the group I help with. This has helped us tremendously. I have gotten quite a few nice things there. When I tire of something it’s easy to get rid of because I never paid for it in the first place. I belong also to a Reycling group who’s idea/concept is to keep things out of the land fill. Members reply to posts of offers of items, if they’re lucky and get chosen, they get the item for nothing. Members are also expected to offer items up to the group regularly. Last week from my recycling group I got a set of golf clubs for my daughter, golf bag, golf shoes, golf balls, queen headboard and footboard, a bag of costume jewelry(over 30 items), several books, a desk, a candle plate, two sets of dishes(one set of which I gifted to a friend), and upright vacuum with bags to name a few. Being involved with an underground market changes your ideas of wants and needs. When you’ve accumulated to much and want to purge you just give back. There is nothing I need other than food and good company.

7 Lorne M. May 17, 2010

Well, the question is how expensive your time is. Wasting time is definitely not frugal – I realized it recently, when I spent more than two hours reading laptop mice reviews, trying to find the best price/quality ratio. Finally I bought one for $14. Was it worth the time? No. Of course, buying a car or TV set or a laptop is worth going around and investigate, but talking about small things, it’s sometimes better simply to go and buy.

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