Which Came First? The Need or the Want?

We’ve all been there. The tantalizing temptation of a sales tag just dangling innocently within reach even though you are out shopping for things that you need like food, clothes for the children or to refill a prescription. There’s that little tag saying ‘I’m here! Buy me! I’m cheaper than where you saw me at the other place!” That little voice is coming from a cute pair of shoes, a sexy, slinky little black dress, a mid-life crisis sports car or a really cool gadget that you absolutely can NOT live without.

Meanwhile, the credit cards sing a harmonious chorus so sweet it’s as if an unknown gravitational pull is yanking you helplessly to the sales item. But wait. A deep rumble within the depths of your pocket or purse your wallet growls angrily, “NO! Stop! You don’t need it! You have a budget to stick to. The bills are due soon, the pantry is bare and your husband/wife/significant other will have an absolute meltdown if you buy it!”

Sigh. The tug of war battle between need versus want rages every day in the choices we make. But it always boils down to one common denominator. The budget, balance and who controls the finances. For many, the recent recession is a stark reminder of the difference between needs versus wants. As several families and individuals are beginning to reset their financial balance, BBB® says with a little planning and discipline there might be a way both sides can win.

For starters, take into consideration monthly expenses for the true needs (food, shelter, medications, and enough clothing to maintain a neat appearance).  A new ‘added’ expense should be set up for savings for the unexpected expenditures that crop up like vehicle repairs, a forgotten bill or medical emergencies. There are several apps and online tools to keep meticulous track of expenditures as well as the old fashioned method of ledgers and checkbooks. Certain banking institutions also have tools consumers can use to monitor cash flow. However, the most useful tool is communicating with family members and keeping the line of communication open as to what will or will not be purchased.

Cash is still king as long as it resides in your wallet only to be used for the things that you truly need to survive. However, if the gotta do’s are covered and there is a little bit stashed away for those true emergencies, don’t be a hermit, enjoy life and treat yourself and end the battle once and for all. But only within reason.

Need more information about a business or having trouble resolving an issue? Visit bbb.org and read the business review before deciding to do business with them.

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About Sandra Guile

Sandra is the PR Specialist for BBB Cincinnati, promoting BBB's message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, blogging, media relations, press releases, web content and other written materials. Her goal is to connect with consumers and business owners in a trustworthy environment and encouraging best practices.