Needs & Wants: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing
|April 25, 2012||Posted by under Finance & Budgets|
This is something I’ve been meaning to write about and accidentally stumbled upon a website today (Seth Godin’s Blog – which I found on The Simple Dollar) where he wrote this:
“Needs and wants are often confused
When people have their basic needs met, it’s not uncommon for wants to magically become needs. It’s our hardwired instinct to seek to fill unmet needs. That pays off for any marketer that has persuaded his market that they need what he sells. It backfires when those ‘needs’ are seen for what they actually are–luxuries. When you sell a want, you have to work harder, you must seduce the market, because wants are fickle, picky and not easily bullied.”
Here is what we humans actually NEED to survive:
1. Food & Water
2. Health & Sanitation
By definition, everything else is considered a luxury.
Do you ever find yourself saying things such as: “I really NEED this!“. Are these things in the primary or secondary needs list?
I realize that clothing is on the primary list, so if you were naked with nothing to wear, then the clothes would be considered a need. If you already have clothes on your back and they aren’t torn, ripped, stained or worn out then buying more clothes is technically not a need.
Most of us in the Western world have all our needs met. Some people have more and/or better food, shelter and clothing but most of us have all of these to different degrees.
But why is it that all of a sudden we feel like we’re entitled to things? Especially things we don’t have money for? What is it that makes us feel like we deserve something?
Here are five questions to ask yourself before purchasing something:
1. Do I already have one that still works? (isn’t broken, out of commission and can still be used)
This is a good question to ask yourself before buying many things. Are you just purchasing this thing because it’s newer, hipper, cuter, nicer looking, works more efficiently… Don’t replace anything unless it’s truly broken or doesn’t work anymore.
2. Would replacing what I already have, save me money in the long run?
Sometimes we need to purchase things we already have, as it will be better for us financially in the long run. Perhaps you currently have an old vehicle which may not be overly efficient on gas and you are also spending a lot of money on repairs. So, you find a second hand SmartCar you would like to buy. You figure out that purchasing the Smart Car would be a less expensive alternative for transportation in the long run. That is an investment. If you need to replace something, make sure it’s actually going to be good for you financially as well. But then you have to ask yourself, can you take public transportation of purchasing the Smart Car?
3. Am I using borrowed money to buy this?
This is crucial. So many people live on borrowed money these days. If you are purchasing something and can not put it back on your credit card or loan shortly after you buy it, then don’t go there. It’s that simple. Look at that borrowed money for what it truly is: BORROWED (As in, it’s not actually yours)…with an interest too. And interest rates will go up at the end of the year which will make matters worse for people who live on credit. Don’t have the cash? Leave it at the store.
4. Is this an emotional purchase?
We make mistakes purchasing things when we are upset or even really happy! Ever been on vacation or somewhere and you’re really pumped, you feel good and you’re whipping out cash left, right and center? You tell yourself you’ll pay it back when you get home? Or if you’re really upset and want to make yourself feel better by getting something? Stay away from emotional purchases. Wait till you come down from your highs or lows before you buy.
5. Can I buy this used/thrift or get it for free (barter)?
Something always looks better when it’s shiny and new doesn’t it? Perhaps it’s not as sexy to buy second hand, at least to some people it isn’t. If what you want to buy can easily be purchased used, then try that out. Before you get that shiny new thing, figure out if there is a way you can get it free, used, or even at a heavy discount. I’ve always wanted my garden to look nice but didn’t want to pay to do it. So one year, I placed an ad to lend “free garden space” for anyone wanting to grow veggies or even flowers in my yard. I get a nice garden and they get to garden for free. Use this logic for services and things you want.
If you ask yourself these questions before purchasing, you may end up saving a bit of cash!
What questions do you ask yourself before buying something?