Have you ever bought something that you needed but ended up spending more money than you planned? Often times your wants and your needs get blended together and this ends up increasing your expenses. One way I try to limit my expenses is to separate my wants and my needs and only purchase what I need, not what I want.
The blending of wants and needs is more noticeable in big purchases, such as houses and cars, but it also happens in every day purchases, like new shoes or lunch. For example, I need a vehicle versus I need a brand new Cadillac SUV. Of course it depends of what your day to day entails, but most people who have an SUV don’t actually need one, a four door car would do just fine and would save you an enormous amount of money.
In order to separate my wants and needs, I like to take time at home before I start shopping to think about my needs versus my wants. There are a lot of factors that influence our decisions; such as, what we need, what we like, what our friends and family have, what our friends and family might say about what we purchased, what we see on T.V. or hear on the radio, what our coworkers have, what our neighbors have, etc. Advertisements and other influences bombard us almost constantly, it can get confusing! Because of these factors I like to consider what I need versus what society thinks I need. It helps me determine that my decisions are in fact my decisions and not a decision that was made for me by a commercial I saw last week!
Now, this doesn’t mean you can never splurge on an item. This is meant to help you be aware of the influences during your purchases. If you have your finances in check then you may be able to splurge every once and a while and not impact your overall budget. Let’s say you need a new pair of black heels, there is an acceptable pair for $30 or a super cute pair for $60. If you have the money in your budget, spring for the super cute pair! Just be aware that splurging on items often could have a detrimental effect on your overall financial health and progress towards financial independence.
I like to let myself splurge on small items since my husband and I are still working towards financial independence. This happened recently when some coworkers invited me out to lunch. I have been making great progress bringing my lunch to work to save more money, but I weighted my options. Should I decline the invite and eat my leftovers (most likely alone in the lunch room since it was Friday and most of the office goes out to lunch on Fridays) or should I accept the invitation and go out to lunch with my coworkers. I chose to go out to lunch, this gave me an opportunity to socialize with my coworkers/build those relationships and lunch only set me back $20 (my eyes are constantly bigger than my stomach), which is not a budget buster for me. Now, I don’t always choose to go out to lunch and sometimes the lunch room is chalked full of people so I don’t have to spend money to socialize. This is just a personal example of a recent time I splurged.
Separating my wants and needs has really helped me get control of my money and my budget. I hope this helps you make more conscience decisions when you are making purchases!
Leave me comment, I would love to know a way that you have successfully (or unsuccessfully) separated your wants and needs.