Needs vs. Wants

Just recently Suze Orman shared her ideas on money issues. She stated, “The less you spend today, the easier it will be to maintain your lifestyle tomorrow.” Wow, how profound; simple but so difficult to follow. One of the major concern she brought forth was the difference between needs and wants. “A want is a restaurant meal; a need is food at a grocery store. A want is a lakeside getaway for a week. A need is a month’s worth of medicine.”

Whenever you are about to make a purchase,

ask yourself: Is this a need or a want?

Need or Want?

The distinction between needs and wants seems lost in our affluent, advertisement-driven society. Television, radio, internet and print ads assure us that we will be happier, more beautiful/handsome, and fulfilled as soon as we acquire a new car, anti-wrinkle cream, a digital entertainment system or _________ you-fill-in-the-blank.

Materialism is nothing new. The Greek philosopher Sophocles, well-known for his simple lifestyle, was at the market one day, closely examining the many goods for sale. A friend asked him why he came to the market at all since he never purchased anything. Sophocles explained, “I am always amazed to see how many things there are that I don’t need.”

Catch a Monkey

Baby Howler monkey eating berriesIt is said that the way to catch a monkey is to drill a hole in a dried coconut and put rice inside. Upon finding the coconut, the monkey will stick its hand into the hole and grab the rice. Unable to remove his hand and unwilling to let go of the prize, the monkey will hang on, trapped.

Sometimes we are similarly snared by material things. Make sure your possessions do not begin to possess you!

~ Ben Franklin’s Almanac, Yankee Publishing Inc.

Are you a monkey who is holding on tight?
Are you trapped by materialism and afraid to let go?

Your Turn

The November 30-day challenge is to examine your financial goals. Are you saving a portion of your monthly income or are you living paycheck to paycheck. What materialism has a strangling hold on your finances? For anyone in debt, it is time to put your needs before wants. Resolve to simplify your lifestyle by releasing your grip on overabundance and consumerism.

Take a moment or two to recognize the difference between your needs and your wants! How do you handle the continuous bombardment of buy-this, upgrade-to-that, acquire-more? Are you sucked into instant gratification or can you hold out for something better in your life?

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