photo credit: Jessica Spengler
The other day I caught myself telling someone I needed to pick up dinner on my way home from picking the kids up from school.
It made me realize how many of the things we say we need are really things we want. They are the things that make our lives simpler, easier, and more enjoyable. They are also the things that make our lives more expensive.
Saying you need something when the truth is that you really just want the item, can lead you down a difficult financial path.
It can be the difference between saying no to a one-day only sale and financing a personal dream.
It can be the difference between a life of struggling from paycheck to paycheck, to having an emergency fund in the bank.
We need food, shelter, and clothing. But those things don’t have to be extravagant, excessive or even name brand. Anything other than the basics falls into the “want” category.
I don’t “need” satellite television. I “want” to subscribe. I don’t “need” to pick up a pizza on the way home tonight, I “want” to.
When you start taking a closer look at how you are talking about acquiring things, you are in a better frame of mind to determine whether or not you should make the purchase.
We see it with our kids all the time, when you’re in the store. “I need a candy bar, Mom. I NEED one.” We see it when they come home from school and say they need a new pair of jeans, even though they have a closet full already.
As a parent, it is easy to see when your child has a case of the “Gimmes.” But it’s often harder to see it in ourselves. We rationalize our “needs” by telling ourselves we “deserve it” or we “work hard” or “we can afford it.” But just because all those things may be true, it doesn’t mean that is how you should spend your money.
So the next time you run to the store. Stop to ask yourself what you really need. You may just find yourself headed back to the car without spending a dime.