N is for Needs versus Wants

Day 14 of the A-Z Alphabet Blog Challenge.

This is about taking a step back from your spending habits.

Before you reach for your purse or wallet, before you press ‘buy it now’ on the keyboard or phone screen just ask yourself the question:

Do I need it or do I want it?

Either answer is a perfectly valid reason to make a purchase but this simple query might help you to clarify your reasoning beforehand.

want-need-balance 3d

If you need it? If it is an item or service that you actually have to have then there is no option for you other than to shop around for the best value that suits your needs.

For instance. I took my car to have the tyres checked at a local tyre specialist centre at the weekend because one day last week i was running out of the door to go to work and spotted an almost flat tyre on the front. Not the best start to a Monday morning i must say. Luckily, there was enough air in it still to get me to the nearest service station where i pumped it up and carried on my way. Anyway, the upshot of the checkup was that my wheel alignment was really bad. So bad, that it had worn away the tyres on the inside (where i couldn’t see), one of them was down to the inner canvas. I was lucky that i didn’t have a blow out.

So, was this a Need or a Want?

Definitely a Need. I live in the middle of nowhere with a really rubbish bus service. I am three miles from my closest local shop. Whilst the exercise would probably be good for me, it is not practical for me to be without a car. So two new tyres and a wheel alignment later, my car is roadworthy again and I am a happy bunny, albeit a £200 lighter in the purse one.

If you want it? Then you can work out how great that want is to determine whether or not you continue to make the purchase. Again, this gives you time to step back and think about why you want it, and can you get the same item elsewhere for cheaper.

For instance. Back to the coffee at work scenario that i have talked about previously. I had fallen into a habit of buying a latte from the local coffee shop every morning on my way into work. It started the day off well and i didn’t have to wait for the kettle to boil in order to have it. The coffee shop also does a discount on takeaway drinks if you take your own mug in so that also helps to sway the decision to have one. When i added up how much i was spending over the year and it came to over £500 though? Ouch, that was bit of a shocker!

I don’t need a takeaway coffee every day. I can quite easily turn the kettle on when i get in, wait five minutes and then i have a cup of coffee. I’m not saying i’ve completely stopped. There are times when that want does become a need, i think i’ve had 2 takeaway cups since the New Year when i did the maths. But as you can see, i have drastically reduced what has been spent just by standing back and asking whether i needed it or wanted it.

Probably just as well as the money i have saved went on two new car tyres and a wheel alignment…

Ask yourself the question next time you are shopping. You might be surprised at the answer.

Have a happy day.

Anita x

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