Want to know the true difference between needs and wants? Read on and start refining your ability to differentiate and make good choices.
HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN NEEDS AND WANTS
If there is a thin line between love and hate it can sometimes feel like there is an even thinner line between need and want. In a consumerist led society, it can be very easy to confuse the two. It took living in a more intentional way for me to change my mindset and allow myself space to once again be able to differentiate between the stuff I need and the stuff I want.
I DON’T CARE HOW, I WANT IT NOW!
I know I have had moments in the past where the voice inside my head is behaving like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the greedy spoilt brat who wants everything NOW.
I’ve been particularly guilty of unleashing my inner-spoilt-brat over a pair of shoes. Luckily I’ve never been known to unleash my inner-spoilt-brat on anyone other than myself.
BRANDS NEED US TO WANT THEM
Brands spend millions and billions convincing us that we need their products in our lives. That their products will make our lives better. They also spend millions and billions building their brand identities so that we feel like we have a relationship with them. That we can rely on them, trust them and always turn to them. Over the last few years, there’s been a massive increase in purpose and cause-based marketing as the latest way to win our hearts and minds.
The bottom line with brands is that THEY NEED US and our money more than we need them because we are the reason they exist.
And hey, I understand that everyone needs to make a dollar. I’m not anti-brand, I’m sitting tapping away at a MacBook Pro keyboard right now and you’ll notice as you browse around Less & Live More (go on, you know you want to) that I post affiliate links.
So, what’s my point? My point is that I think we could all do with taking a step back and looking at whether we are really able to tell the difference between what we need and what we want. Because focusing too much on want rather than need isn’t great for any of us.
THE PRIME(D) TO SHOP GENERATION
I read a brilliant post on No Sidebar by Anthony Ongaro of Break The Twitch that calls out his Amazon Prime habit and how noticing it was a lightbulb moment for starting to live a more intentional life.
The post totally resonates with me because Anthony’s feelings are similar to how I came to feel about my shopping habits a while back when I realised that putting want before need adds up over time to create the opposite of leading an intentional life and reaching financial freedom.
I realised that the ease with which I could seemingly satiate a want was actually creating a whole heap of negatives in my life, sucking up my time, draining my money and using up my brain bandwidth.
HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN NEEDS AND WANTS
A very broad way to differentiate the difference between needs and wants is this: Needs are the things we need to survive and thrive. Needs include clean water to drink, food to eat, clothing to keep us warm and protected and shelter to live in. Wants are pretty much everything else. Wants are the icing on the cake that make life a little sweeter.
HOW TO STOP TURNING NEEDS INTO WANTS
The reality is that needs and wants can vary from person to person, town to town, country to country. For some of us, a car is a want and for others, it is an absolute need. I guess the thing to consider here is the need for a car that works and is reliable versus the want for a car that is a status symbol.
We are all capable of turning needs into wants. Advertising and social media has a big part to play, as does keeping up with the Joneses (or Kardashians).
So here’s a list of simple ways you can avoid turning needs into wants:
1. BE MORE INTENTIONAL WHEN MAKING CHOICES
By taking the time to figure out what matters most to you, you can create a blueprint for life that will enable you to make better choices. It will help you curb impulse purchases and help the cravings subside. Read my post on how to Intentional Living and Why You Might Need It to see how you can start creating a blueprint for leading an intentional life.
2. TIME DELAY
Give yourself time to think before you make a purchase, especially if you can feel the crazy of an impulse purchase occurring. Don’t allow yourself to make the purchase for a week, use the time to figure out why you want to make the purchase and then see how you feel. Read my post on How To Stop Shopping for more ideas on how to ditch a consumer mindset.
3. sIMPLE Sustenance
Yes, you need to eat a healthy well-balanced diet, but you don’t need ready-meals, takeout or endless meals out. Take delight in planning your meals and eating delicious homemade food. Stick to plain simple tap water.
You don’t need bottled water (plus buying bottled water is so bad for the environment), you don’t need soda or fancy flavours, you don’t even really need alcohol.
4. HOME goal
You need a roof over your head, but you don’t need to have the fanciest home that the biggest mortgage you can get your hands on will allow. The weight of paying off a huge mortgage and the cost of running a bigger house than you need could easily outweigh the delight of having a showhome.
5. APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE
Look around you at everything you have and appreciate it. Shop your wardrobe before you rush to buy new clothes, shift stuff around in a room before you seek new furniture to buy. Take joy in spending time with nature before rushing to spend a fortune on entertainment.
I really hope this post has helped you make some decisions about the things you need and the things you want in your life. I’d love to hear your thoughts.