Need Vs Wants- Learning the Difference Can Save You A World Of Pain
It is said that many people buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like, with money they don’t have.
Keeping up with thee Jones’s may have seemed like a strange idea when you were younger. Until as a teen you began measuring your self worth in relation to your peers (as all teens normally do). Many people never get out of that mind set and relate their personal worth to the things they have and the job they do and how other people see them.
The entertainment and media industry don’t make things easier when they show us images of people who are happy because of the things they own and lifestyle they have. Success is often portrayed as being on a big boat surrounded by beautiful people with gold chains around your neck with some sort of special new product in hand. The idea of which is actually quite ridiculous.
One of the big challenges that consumers face is the relentless message that to enjoy life you need a particular product. It might even be a product which is similar to one you already own but supposedly this new or different version of the product will make you a better person and happier…until the new version comes out. This is why even though many people have mobile phones they run out and get a new one (rather than a new battery which, let’s admit becomes weak and pitiful after about 18 months…which drives you mad and makes you want a new phone around about the time your contract comes up for renewal – coincidence?).
Do You Need it?
The difference between needs and wants is easy to identify. You “need” things that keep you alive. Everything else is a “want”. For instance you need food, a place to sleep and clothes to wear. You want a pair of sunglasses that make you look cool.
The challenge comes in where we start to buy into the media campaign that tells us we “need” certain things to not stay alive but to truly enjoy life. After all it is obvious that we don’t really need a hover board to stay alive but advertising may convince us that to enjoy ourselves we “need” it.
The Latest Gadget Will Make Your Life Better
Since there was a time before the latest mobile device or gadget and people survived and had meaningful lives and did not have these things, we realize on some level that the don’t actually need much to be happy and to enjoy ourselves. Many of the things being offered by the commercial system can enhance our lives or make things convenient but most are actually things we don’t need. Do you need a device that chops up veggies really small? It kind of sounds like a kitchen knife…but wait there’s more. If you buy now not only do you get the nifty gadget but you also get a cook book!
Really? I can google recipes all day long…for free. I can chop up stuff with my kitchen knife that i already own…for free and it requires less storage space and less cleaning.
(1) you need it and
(2) you can afford it.
Do You Need Money?
Even the need for money can be deceiving. Do you need money? Actually, No. What you really need is the things most people buy with money. You need food, you need a place to stay, you need clothes. Money is simply an ends to get those things. Many people find this confusing because everyone says you need money. Most of us chase money all day long. Our planet is an amazing one and people are very resourceful when they put their minds to it. A person can grow their own food, make their own clothes and even build their own homes. Millions of South Africans have done just that. In a country with a very high level of debt and low financial literacy and high unemployment, we have one of the highest home ownerships in the world, with many people owning two homes one in the city and one in the countryside. What tends to happen though is that we decide that we want other people to do these things for us. Since those people ask from money we find we suddenly need money.
The commercial world has figured out that we are impatient and are impulsive. They know that if you think for too long about something (like that new dress) you may realize you don’t need it and the accompanying debt). This is why the world of lay-bys has shrunk while the world of instant credit (even pre-approved credit limits) exists. They know that if you are given too long to think about it you will not make the purchase so they let you take it now and pay later. Clever.
Sadly however the combination of the media selling to us and the credit industry making it easy to commit to future payments on impulse buys is one that has landed many consumers in a world of financial stress an pain. Ans trust me that is something nobody needs or wants.
Needs Vs Wants
The trick then, is being able to distinguish a want from a real need and not being convinced that our personal worth comes from keeping up with the Jones’s. You are more than the shoes you wear. You personal worth is not determined by which brand label is on your clothes or what area you live in. Remember that.