Since this is a financial-based blog, we won’t really touch on our McDouble Dinners or TMI episodes on Facebook, we’ll just get down to the nitty-gritty of our obsession with “wanting things.”
A critical step in money management is determining the difference between a need and a want.
We know you *think* you need an iPhone with an unlimited data plan. We all thought we needed a pair of (un) fashionable furry Ugg boots. And that new car with the heated seats? How did our parents survive without toasty buns?
What you really need is a wake up call.
Those are all wants. A need is a necessity. Food, like fruit and vegetables, milk and cheese, bread and meat, is a need. Shelter, like a clean house that keeps us warm, is a need. Clean clothes to cover our body. All needs.
We Americans think we *need* cable, a large house with a media room and mancave, a new car with built in Bluetooth and Siri, the latest Xbox, the “just out” tablet, that trip to Disneyworld. Whining about not having those things is a #firstworldproblem.
We have become accustomed to think the bigger the better…the latest the greatest. In 1974 the average house was 1,694 square feet and housed 5.1 people. Homes today have gotten bigger (2,349 square feet) while families have shrunk to 2.6 people. I guess we need more space for our oversized, remote control, complete with cooler, suede couch and our 96” flat screen TV.
In other words, WE DON’T NEED MORE SPACE…OUR STUFF DOES (and yes, we are yelling).
We’ve touched on “big” wants. What about smaller wants? Do you need contacts or do you want them? Glasses are cheaper, you know. Soda and your sugary Frappuccino are wants. Sure they only cost a buck (or three), but you can definitely do without. Will a generic brand work just as well as its name brand counterpart?
Sounds silly to be talking about $1 or $3 items, but if you are really serious about destroying your debt, these “little” things are just as important as the big ticket items.
You will never be financially fit if you don’t know the difference between needs and wants. If you think your wants are really your needs, you should seek help from a financial counselor at a credit union or non-profit consumer debt organization. They will open your eyes to all your #firstworldproblems, free you of your debt and might even help you clean out your closet…literally!