Would you describe this steak as a need or a want? Okay, that one was easy (it’s a want). But what about a pair of jeans or shoes? Or even a washing machine? Or, the best one, a cell phone?
Each of the items listed above is a want. Yes, a want. A need is something that you must have to live, to survive. And nothing I listed above falls under that description. We actually only need a few things in life. We need a roof over our head. We need food in our bellies. We need clothes on our back. However, we don’t need a 2,000 square foot home with granite countertops. We don’t need steak. And we definitely don’t need multiple pairs of shoes, jeans or tops.
I had trouble with this one. I would convince myself that I needed everything that I had – that I just couldn’t survive without them. God taught me this lesson in the form of a washing machine. One day my washing machine broke down and I had no way to fix it or replace it. I was just starting my debt free journey so I didn’t have the cash to pay for a new one – or even a used one – and I wasn’t going to use a credit card. So what was the answer to my conundrum? I didn’t need a washing machine. I knew this because my grandmother didn’t have one for many years and she survived just fine. (She was my example on my journey) So I hand washed my clothes for several months until I could save up for a new washing machine. Was it easy? No. Was it annoying? Yes. But it was worth not mortgaging my future for something I didn’t need.
The biggest myth about needs is what actually defines a need. You see, you can have anything you want, but you must meet your needs first and then go after your wants. If you are homeless, you shouldn’t have a cell phone. If you are behind on your mortgage, you shouldn’t be eating out. When you understand the concept of needs versus wants, you will prioritize differently and make better financial decisions knowing that you can live without something for a while. And a side benefit to embracing this new understanding is you will realize how truly blessed you are. You not only have your needs met, but you have most of your wants as well. And if you are on your wealth and financial freedom journey now, it will motivate you to make choices that will move you forward even faster.
You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything. Life is about priorities and choices. Make sure your true needs are always met (they are for most of us) and then prioritize your wants based on your finances and future goals and dreams. And please don’t misunderstand me or the point of this article – I have a cell phone, a washing machine, a nice home, and I eat steak. But I have also gone through times in my life where I didn’t have those things and I lived just fine. Never mortgage your present or your future to obtain or do things that fall in the want category. It’s not worth it.
Have a blessed and prosperous week! ~Debbi