person determining wants and needs

Life Hack - Determine If Your Wants Are Needs

Chances are, you work hard at your job, so you probably treat yourself every now and then to reward your efforts. And there’s no harm in doing that as long as you’re being responsible. But it’s also important to understand how you’re spending your money.

Wants Vs. Needs

It’s not wrong to use your money to buy the things you want, but it’s also important to invest in the things you need. Most people are familiar with these examples: food, water, shelter, and clothing. Other needs might branch out into the area of maintaining your health, saving for retirement or taking care of an aging parent.

But when it comes to our wants, the area becomes a bit more grey. Perhaps you work in a professional capacity and want to read up on something related to your occupation, or maybe you’re a surgeon and want to attend a seminar on a recent medical discovery.

Would paying for a magazine subscription or a trip to a seminar be considered a want or a need? More often than not, this is dictated by your financial limitations. For example, pawning a car title for a cash emergency is not uncommon, but very few people would use them for non-essentials. Here are a few simple tips to help you distinguish between your needs and wants.

Take Inventory Before Going Shopping

Taking inventory isn’t just for the corporate world - it also applies to knowing what’s in your home. It might seem like a mundane task, but it can help you save a lot of money with a minimum of effort.

By knowing what you already have, you can avoid inadvertently redundant purchases of items you haven’t used or forgot you had. Once you have an idea of what items you have already, you can apply the money you would have spent on other things you may need or want.

woman thinking before shopping

Ask Yourself What Your Life Priorities Are

Depending on your beliefs, profession or stage in life, you will have a very specific set wants, needs, and priorities. For instance, if you work from home, an internet connection is obviously a must.

But working remotely for a living means you might not need a car like someone who has to commute to work. On the other hand, if you work at an office and spend very little time at home (and when you do, you prefer to read a book) a wifi connection or cable subscription might be easy expenses to give up.

Declutter Everything

You’ve probably heard of the popular term “decluttering,” which is the simple act of removing mess or clutter from a space. But it’s not enough to remove the physical clutter in your life. To truly declutter, you have to organize and prioritize what you truly value in life. It might seem drastic to minimize as a way to figure out what your needs and wants are, but if you want change your habits, this is a good way to do it.

In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” Marie Kondo, a best-selling author and organization consultant, spends 224 pages explaining in great detail the process and importance of decluttering your home. Photos and other mementos aren’t even exempt as she writes of the importance of eliminating things that no longer “spark joy”.

This organization method forces you to examine what you’ve moved on from and what you value enough to remain in your life. If an item no longer sparks joy when placed in your hands, you should just let it go. When you discard items that no longer provide you with happiness, you become more self-aware of how you feel about material objects.

With this new awareness, you’ll gain a new perspective on what you do and don’t need. And that means, when you go out and buy things in the future, you’ll probably be less willing to purchase anything that you don’t need or won’t use.

Determining Your Financial Wants and Needs

Armed with this knowledge, you’re probably ready to start taking steps to reach your financial goals. If you choose to use the short-term option of an affordable title pawn loan, you’ll have a lot more leeway to pay down other debts without any more undue worry or sleepless nights.

As long as you’re realistic, responsible, and proactive, it’s completely feasible to use this type of short-term loan to better determine your wants from your needs.

Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.

Daniel Dewitt

Daniel Dewitt is a lifetime blogger with a finely-honed ability to break down, analyze, and interpret economic trends for the layman. He's fiercely invested in spreading financial literacy and helping everyday people gain the tools they need for their own economic success.