Telling the Difference Between Wants and Needs

Posted 11-6-2012 at 09:22 AM by Krista

When first exploring how to cut down on our spending the first thing that my husband and I discovered is that we had to work on determining the difference between wants versus what we actually needed. When we had both worked and brought in pretty good money we found everything we wanted was a need, even picking up things we didn’t even know we “needed!” Walmart trips quickly morphed into hundreds of dollars excursions, sometimes multiple times a month. For making almost fifty thousand dollars combined, we were always broke. We were living the American Dream, huh?

So, as you can imagine when my job was cut—and more than half our income—we had a very hard time adjusting. It took months, years to figure out how to manage on my husband’s income. Heck, we are still figuring it out! Wants versus needs has definitely been our biggest challenge. For example, a trip to Walmart last night for two things quickly became an expensive venture totaling out at $90. It’s better than the $300 we used to spend, but still! We hardly got any groceries.

Here is what happened:

Twisty ties (to fix the gate) NEED: $3

Monsters (J drinks them for his 12 hour days) NEED: $15

Razors NEED: $18 (men’s razors sure are expensive! Luckily we don’t buy them often. I cant remember the last time we have!)

Markers WANT: $9

Board Book WANT: $7

Art set WANT: $10

Alcohol WANT : $8

Juice x 3 NEED: 10

Cheetos WANT: $2

And then tax. Yes, yes, this was a trip of “wants” but it doesn’t happen very often. And at least now we can tell the difference between what we want and need. If you are trying to get back on track financially I would suggest going through your monthly spending and see where you could make adjustments. If we hadn’t had the money, this list would have been cut down very short!

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