Sunday’s “Parade” magazine featured a great article about families learning to live with what they have, not what they want or think they need. The article profiles several families who’ve had to learn the hard way how to cut back. To make decisions to live differently after job loss or a business failed.
Wants and needs have always been very different things. Wants being things we desire like more money, fancier cars, larger homes, luxurious vacations, and more. Needs are just what we require to live: food, shelter, enough to pay our bills. The need category can tend to get long when we over indulge and think we must have items in order to get by.
We tend to think we need things. We collect things. We buy more things. Things, things, things. Nikki Willhite of allthingsfrugal.com states it this way:
It is said that we spend the first half of our life accumulating possessions, and the second half giving them away. This is true for most people.”
Willhite, ends her article, “Wants Versus Needs,” eloquently:
Learn to live with less. Learn to shun envy. Appreciate what you have. If you have less, you will appreciate what you have more.
The “Parade” article ends differently, but with an equally telling message about desiring too much:
Is there a lesson to be learned from 2009? “We now know what every 85-year-old knows,” says Ted Klontz, a financial-behavior consultant. “Chasing after money is meaningless.”
Photo credit: dinny.
- Read the full article from Parade.com
- Read Willhite’s article, “Wants Versus Needs.”
- Helpful tip sheet for kids on getting them to understand and differentiate a want vs. a need, especially when spending their own money. From PBSkids.org.
- Balancing Motherhood’s Finance archives.