Needs vs Wants

3 Comments 15 March 2012 / by

for those who follow me on twitter, must know i often tweet about understanding your needs versus your wants. this term, it may sound easy to understand. in reality, it’s very hard to do. even for me. so it’s like a note to myself while i’m sharing my thoughts to others too.

as a woman, it is in our blood to enjoy the prettiest things in life. we just can never had enough of things. be it more shoes, more bags, more lipsticks, more eyeshadows, more cupcakes, more clothes, more of everything. one is never enough. we just believe that one is a lonely number, so the more you can have it, the better it is. the more the merrier. we just can never resisted on cute pretty things, anything discounted, anything cheap, for some anything branded haha! just be honest, if you are a woman (or even a man), you must have those urges too.

unfortunately, not everyone has unlimited resources where you can just buy everything in the world. for the rest of us (read: yours truly!), how would you tame the urges? these days, financial planning is becoming a popular thing among the young families. people learn how to manage their finances better, understanding how much they need to save and how much they can invest, spend, etc. one thing those financial planners never teach is how to manage your urge to fulfill your shopping habits. it doesn’t matter how great you can master to plan your finances, but if you cannot manage your urges to fulfill that shopping habit of yours, then those plannings are just down to the drain.

i, myself, am just like any other woman. it’s also hard for me to tame my shopping urges, especially in the beginning of my career, when i finally had my own income and earning my own money. i remember 14 years ago (oh my.. has it been that long?) that i received my first paycheck and all i wanted is just to spend spend spend. working in new york city, right in the center of everything nice in fifth avenue didn’t help either. everyday on my way back home, i had to pass stores like GAP, zara, nine west, aldo, banana republic, H&M, sephora and more!! i was just like a kid in a candy land. being single then, my earnings are all to myself. i can buy whatever i want. so literally, every day i would go in to different stores on my way back home and i would bring several shopping bags home. i was happy, my urges were fulfilled, i feel like a million dollars. then the stuffs are piling up. sometimes i’d find things i haven’t even worn or used, dumped in the corner of my room. it was.. well, a waste!

it took me one full year to finally come to my senses (this full year means that i literally spend money every day after work, buying things just for the sake of it!). it may seem short period, but it was enough for me. i enrolled to an MBA program and i had to save up. no more buying things impulsively. then i got to think about my savings, started planning on some investments, and so on and so forth. those were the times when i really learn the meanings of “needs vs. wants”.

back then, i felt that it was limiting my moves and shopping habits. cuz for every purchase i made, i had to think, “do i want this? do i really need it?”. it took me awhile just to decide on one single purchase. in the end, it helps me to tame my shopping urges. the time i spent to think whether i want or need the item, was too long that i’d rather use it to rush home to cook, clean or study.

and it stays with me until i got married and have my own family. it helps me to make a better judgement on anything we do as a family before purchasing anything. and honestly, i can still be a kid in candy land when i was at orchard area or any boutiques and shops, but i don’t dare to touch cuz i know it will only hurt my teeth later on. same analogy applies to how i handle my finances.

so what is a need? what is a want? let’s start to understand that first. maybe that’ll also help you to manage your shopping habit.

a need is something you have to have, something you can’t do without. a good example is food. if you don’t eat, you won’t survive for long. many people have gone days without eating, but they eventually ate a lot of food. you might not need a whole lot of food, but you do need to eat.

a want is something you would like to have. it is not absolutely necessary, but it would be a good thing to have. a good example is music. now, some people might argue that music is a need because they think they can’t do without it. but you don’t need music to survive. you do need to eat.

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a need is to have a working bag. a want is to have a prada bag as your working bag. can you survive without a prada bag? yes, of course. must you buy it? it depends. if you have fulfilled your basic needs, and you have extra money without sacrificing your basic needs, why not? but if you buy it just because it looks good on you, while you haven’t put any money for your child’s education fund for awhile.. well, think again!

speaking of bags, i often hear people say that buying a good branded bag is an investment. well, whoever said it, must never learn finance haha.. (honestly i used to say it too, back in the days when my shopping urges still got the better of me)

an investment is a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable in the future.

yes, a good branded leather bag you buy today may be sale-able anytime. but will it make a profit when you sell it? not necessarily. even it is sold at a profit, it may not as profitable after you include the inflation in. so, personally, i don’t think it’s an investment. it’s just an excuse to fulfill your shopping urge. not necessarily a bad thing, but still.. just an excuse. hey, i love branded bags too.. and sometimes my urges got the better of me. but at least, i make sure that i don’t sacrifice my other investments.

after all, a woman still got to look good, right? we can splurge once in a while, if the budget is allowed, just don’t let it control you. think again, is it a want or need? your (kids) future may depend on it. ha!

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Your Comments

3 Comments so far

  1. Aini says:

    Itu di gambarnya… si Wants ukurannya lebih gede daripada si Needs ya ? Pesannya kena banget, krn biasanya orang lebih sering kejebak sama napsu pengen punya ini-itu daripada sadar sama apa yang dibutuhin, hihihi..
    Thanks for reminding, Shin 🙂

  2. crey says:

    really nice post, shin!
    mungkin karna gw pernah susah jadi walopun udah plan beli sesuatu tapi kenyataannya pasti duitnya disayang2 hehehe…
    tapi pengakuan: i’m easy to be pleased, just give me good food! haha 😀

  3. sLesTa says:

    @aini: hihi wants akan selalu lebih besar dari needs. intinya sih, sebagai manusia ya wajarlah ya pengen ini itu. wajar aja sih, dan tentunya juga wajar banget kalo dipenuhi. asal jangan berlebihan dan out of control. apalagi kalo terlalu mengejar wants, tapi needs nya terlupakan. soalnya kasusnya banyak nih. seperti yang ngejar2 beli tas branded, tapi ngutang dimana2.. suka kasian.

    @crey: thanks crey! gue juga sama.. kalo mau beli sesuatu, walopun duitnya ada, kalo harganya mahal, gue akan bertanya2.. do i deserve it? am i entitled to have it? pokoknya banyaak lah pertanyaannya. padahal kadang itu barangnya juga bukan yang mahal2 amat, ato gak ya bisa aja kalo mau gue beli saat itu juga. tapi suka ga tega, akhirnya gue bikin plan untuk nabung dulu, kalo udah fulfill baru gue beliin.. tapi ujung2nya malah gak jadi karena sayang duitnya hihih..

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a worker by choice, a mother and a wife by nature / owner of / co-founder of the urban mama / the urban muslimah | email: slesta[at]slesta[dot]com

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