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Can You Tell Wants from Needs?




By Stas Bekman.

Published: 16 July 2006

Can You Tell Wants from Needs?

You don't need to buy that fancy thing, do you? You want it, but you don't really need it. If you struggle to find a good saving strategy, this is a great and simple one. Every time you want to buy something, ask yourself whether you really need it.

Don't be too hard on yourself, because if you forbid yourself the pleasures you are used to, your brain will rebel and send you into a buying binge. Instead, start with a simple observation. Every time you are about to buy something, ask yourself that question and observe the response. Do buy the thing you want so much. Keep practising. One day this observation will result in your changing your mind and not buying the thing that you don't need. Then it'll happen again, and after some time you will be very comfortable at saying 'No', because you will feel good about making a better choice.

One way to find out your wants versus needs is to go through your household, garage and attic and locate all those objects that you really wanted to have, and which bought, but you lost an interest in them a few days later and they have been collecting dust since then.

Other than smaller objects, a good example is wanting to have a big house, even if you don't really need all those extra rooms. Once you have it, you pay more taxes, you spend more time and money cleaning it, you spend more money furnishing it, etc.

And of course foods come in as a special case, it's too easy to get addicted to certain kinds of foods, like sweets. Not only they aren't good for you, when consumed in big quantities, they are very expensive if you buy them all the time. The observation technique, described earlier, works really well for getting rid of addictions, because addictions don't go away if you forbid things to yourself, they just get stronger. That's why most diets don't work. Dieters restrict themselves and put unreasonable demands on their bodies and chemistry for that period they do the diet, and as soon as the diet is over, the body rebels and goes on binge. Not only you put a yo-yo stress on your body, you also waste your money twice, on the diet products and the after-diet binge.

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