Monday, March 26

Wants vs. Needs

We had an interesting discussion at dinner tonight about what it means to really need something and I had a revelation: Needs are rarely specific.

I know that it doesn't sound terribly exciting but consider some examples:

  • I NEED to get to work tomorrow. This could be accomplished by car, train, bus, helicopter, bicycle, walking or any other mode of transportation that goes from my house to where I am working.
  • I NEED to give my friend a gift for letting me stay with her. This could be a card, a dinner, a gift certificate, a book or anything else that sends the thank you message and is valued by her.

I think you probably get my point. When the underlying need is stated, it can often be satisfied in a variety of ways. However, "I want an Ipod" can only be satisfied in one way.

I wonder if we were more careful to phrase things as needs instead of wants if we could buy less stuff? For example, "I want an Ipod" could become "I need to find a way to make exercise more enjoyable" or for someone else "I need to find a way to organize my music". The final solution might be an Ipod, but it might not.

This is a challenge to break free of marketing messages to determine your own life, and in doing so, take control of how you are spending your money. I think that is a very exciting opportunity.

Today's billable hours: 8.0
Today's contracted hours: 0.0


Canadian Money said...

Challenging topic... where do my "needs" end and my "wants" begin? I tried to answer it a little in my post today.