Financial Ministry

Identifying needs versus wants and desires

Identifying needs versus wants and desires is really not that hard. We all have basic needs food, clothing, and shelter. The problem comes when we start treating our wants and desires as needs. Let’s take food. To satisfy our hunger (need) we can eat hamburger meat. However, we want a steak. We desire filet mignon. These items would satisfy our hunger; yet, one would create less of a drain on our funds. In clothing, you could go to your local discount store or outlet and buy a pair of slacks, shirt/blouse, dress, undergarments, etc. for a low price. However, you might want a name brand for which you pay a lot more, and you desire a designer name brand. The same holds true for housing. If you rent, you can save money by not having to worry about maintenance, taxes, or insurance. Yet, the American dream has been to own your home.

You must learn to sit back and think about your purchases be they needs or wants or desires. Think about whether a less expensive item will take care of your need and not of your want or desire. Be willingly to shop wisely, so that you can meet all your needs. Let’s face it, we all have a finite amount of money. It takes longer to earn it than it does to spend it.

In America, we have become accustomed to calling our wants and desires needs. We say I need this new TV, computer, car, cellphone, software program or computer game or machine. No, we do not. These things even though we say we “need” them will not cause us to get seriously ill and/or perish. They are wants or desires. A need will cause you to perish. If you don’t have food, you die. If you don’t have clothes, you are exposed to the elements, which will cause you to get seriously ill and die. If you don’t have shelter, you again are exposing yourself to the elements, which will again lead to death.

Keep check of your wants and desires. Make sure that you don’t confuse them with real needs.


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