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30 Day Road to Discovery: Day 19 – Wants vs. Needs

by Notorious Spinks on 01.20.2011

I need a new printer desk but I want a Kindle.

Needs vs. Wants?

Needs vs Wants

Which one seems to take precedence in your life?  If you’re like me you buy so many things you want but sometimes slack on the things you need.  For instance, I will drive around a couple of months with expired tags.  To be honest, it’s not because I don’t have the money but because I don’t care to give them my money.  Plain and simple.  LOL!

But seriously, do you fall in the traps of buying everything you want and falling short on the things you need?  I know I’ve been in that situation many times.  I will buy all the fashion items, gadgets and books I want but when bill time comes I postpone paying them because I clearly mismanaged my funds.  Real talk.

[Insert prayer here]

But I’ve been working on it.  Seriously….

Last summer I stepped back and took inventory on everything I had.  I mean everything and nothing was safe.  Ummm, all except my precious books.

I started asking myself some serious questions?

  • Do you need this?
  • Do you want this?
  • Were did this come from?
  • How much is this worth?
  • How often do I use this?

The list of questions went on and on.  I was just tired of having all this stuff that I’ve been bamboozled into buying because I thought it would make me happy, hip, trendy, etc.  I had to break it down and get real with myself.  I started discarding stuff like crazy.  I made a pile of things for Goodwill, a pile to keep, a pile of books, and a pile to sale.   The pile of things for Goodwill was things I’ve had forever but were in good condition but just time to let it go.  My pile of stuff to keep was stuff that I needed and/or wanted but I have used them in the past six months.  If it was something that I hadn’t used in 6 months then adios.  See ya!  Now my pile of stuff to sale were things that I owned that still had price tags.  It was just shameful and wasteful.  It’s crazy how much stuff I still had with price tags:shoes, clothes and purses.

Now my books have to be addressed on another level.  I don’t play about my books.  In the past I kept ALL my books.  It didn’t matter if I liked them or not, I kept them.  After creating my pile I went through and pulled out books that I wanted to keep in my library.  I pulled autographed books aside and books that I would definitely reread.  All others got their walking papers.

Ya’ll it was so hard for me to part from some of my stuff but I had to do it.  I just had to.  After I cleaned out my closet and bookshelves I put myself on a budget.  My goal was to only buy things that I really needed and a little of what I wanted.  Thus far I’ve been doing good and I’m using Mint.com to track my spending.  I haven’t really been purchasing any clothes.  In the last six months I’ve purchased some new undies and one pair of jeans.  I haven’t purchased any shoes or purses.  Now I’ve purchased some books but I only keep the ones that I love.  As for the rest of them, I swap on BookMooch for other books.  That way I can get other books I want for the cost of shipping only, about $3.

This journey of spending my money on what I need vs. what I want has been hard.  I still find myself spending more that I need to on eating out and fast food but I’ve done good in that area since the new year started.  I’ve been cooking and eating at the house since I’m trying to drop these pounds.

We live in a world were consumerism is the trend.  Either you’re in or you’re out.  I chose to step out.  I feel that I waste too much money buying the things I want while slacking in other areas and while some people go without the basics.  I see it like this, “Mr. Macy and Mr. Dillard got his and I’m trying to get mine!”

Will I stop purchasing the things I want entirely?  No!  But I do spend more time asking myself why I need items and will they help me get to where I’m trying to go?  As I look how my spending has decreased in the past months, the answer is clearly no most of the time.  I have a goal of leaving wealth for my children and my children’s children.  I can’t do that buying all the things I want.  I just can’t do it…

So what about you?  Are you buying more wants than needs?  How do you determine what you buy?

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  • With every single purchase I make, I ask myself whether it is something I want or need. It helps to maintain my budget and save money in the long run by avoiding frivolous purchases.

  • @Kimvannie _ Thanks for the support!

    @BSW – Girl I understand. I promise I do. I’m a book hoarder. LOL!

  • OMG!!! It is soooo hard for me to get rid of books. I don’t even want people touching them. LOL… I know that is sad and that I am going to have to work on it. Bookmoch seem like a good idea…. I may have to look into it, maybe some of my old college reads that I am ashame to say I read could go on there. LOL!

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  • I too use bookmooch and it’s a great way to rid myself of books and get some without spending. I wish you all the best in your budgeting and with time it will get easier. I have been practicing the need vs wants thing for years and it works. I am loving your very positive posts.

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