When we start analyzing our needs versus our wants the lines can seem a little blurred. When we look at how we live on a day to day basis, how we are raised, how we are targeted by advertisers and what society preaches to us everyday it is really no wonder we lose focus of what we really need. Getting back to the basics can be a little difficult and will take some soul searching. One will have to sit down and take a hard look at spending habits, set goals and write down a plan on how to realistically meet those goals.
Your need survey will depend on the generation that you grew up with. If you were to ask someone from the older generation what their needs are, you will get a much simpler answer then if you would ask someone of a much younger age. To make a realistic decision you may have to pull yourself back a generation or two.
The best way to analyze where you are is to ask yourself a series of questions and be honest with yourself. You have two basic needs, food and shelter, outside of this, everything else that you have is to make life more convenient. A few basic questions that you could ask yourself are.
1. Can I wait a week to purchase this item and what are the consequences if I don’t purchase it right now?
If the item is one of your basic needs, chances are you will not survive with out it, you need food, water and shelter, you do not need 6 pairs of shoes or the latest jeans that are in. Society dictates through marketing that you do, but honestly you don’t. Realistically, if you do not purchase the new outfit you will be fine. Wait a day or two and the urge will leave you. Write down the amount that you would have spent and walk away. Go home and look in your closet, you probably have something there similar that you have purchased in the past. So, the consequences are you are saving money by not purchasing the item, leaving more money in your budget for the basic needs.
2. Am I strong enough to window shop versus buying?
If you love to shop, denying yourself the trip to the mall will only worsen your situation and make you feel more broke. Go to the mall, look at items but do not purchase items that you don’t need. If you must purchase items, leave the tags on them, if you don’t wear them or use the items, return them. You will have your fix of shopping and the satisfaction of taking the item home, by taking it back you will then put more money back into your budget. If you must shop only shop while things are on sale, clip coupons and take advantage of frequent shopper perks. Realistically, you should inventory your home and know what you have, then you can ask yourself, do I really need the item, chances are you do not.
3. Can I get the item online versus going to the store?
Shopping online in the comfort of your home can save you time and money. Be sure to check out the online deals for free shipping or combined shipping on multiple items. Many stores will offer items on their web pages that will not be available in the stores. Web pages such as Overstock.com, Amazon.com and Ebay will save you a significant amount of money. You will have many options at your finger tips, you can comparison shop on many web pages at one time.
Deciding what your needs versus your wants will take some real soul searching. In today’s society of electronics and gadgets we sometimes look at items as necessary when in reality they are not. Your needs and wants are what you decide, getting back to the basics will help you save money and get your budget on track. Set your goals, write it all down and track your progress. It is possible as long as your are committed.