What usually seems as an easy distinction – simple and straightforward – oftentimes does not turn out to be that clear in real life. The distinction between wants and needs is something we seem to learn to understand in early years, yet many situations and experiences in life, fade the distinction away at times; or at least lead us to make choices that make it seem like the distinction somewhere, somehow faded away.
It helps to refresh the thoughts, reflect upon them and re-think certain situations or reconsider certain decisions once in a while. And here, we help readers do exactly that, with regards to understanding and choosing options on the basis of needs and wants or necessities and aspirations.
Since ours is a lending service, we shall circle our text around expenses, purchases and borrowing decisions. Nonetheless, the principles we use to put across this text, can be similarly applied to anything where the need is to distinguish clearly between wants and needs and prioritize them if that’d be the need.
What Expenses can one Qualify as “Needs”
By their essence, needs are basic necessities – what one cannot live a wholesome life without. In terms of expenses, easy examples of needs would include food, water, clothing, house rentals, basic transport and education.
Less conventional examples of expenses one “needs” to bear, could include expenses like the repayment of dues, expenses related to an essential study expense of one’s child, house repairs, internet connection charges and vehicle fuel costs.
What Expenses can one Consider as “Wants”
Any expense above the basic that can help one live a life of an acceptable quality, can practically be considered as a “want” – it’s an aspiration but not a necessity.
Expenses like clothing of a luxury brand, packaged drinking water, branded organic foods, rentals of a prime-location house versus one in an alternate location and other such expenses negating which, one can still live a life without critical compromises, can be considered as wants.
Distinguishing Needs from Wants
Many times, a need is very distinct from a want. However, there are times when the line can seem to blur.
If you face such an ambiguity with regards to an expenditure, what we recommend, is to think a little deep. Ask yourself a few simple questions to begin with:
- How big a difference shall it make if I choose to avoid this expenditure?
- Are there other no expenses I am to incur, which are of higher priority than this?
- Is there no alternate that would cost lesser?
- Can I manage without it?
The more negatives you get to such questions, the stronger is the indication that it is something you need.
Here’s a little demonstration of what we mean. Let’s assume that Mr. Dover is in a situation that requires him to distinguish some expenses from each other as wants and needs.
He is able to find an $800 loan that he can afford to repay but these are all that he wants to cover these expenses during the next one month:
- $300 for his son’s education fee
- $200 for his son’s piano lessons next month
- $200 to repair the cooking range in his kitchen without which he spends an additional $20 a day on food from takeaways
- $300 to cover a month of his daily transport expenses in a taxi
- $150 if he chooses to repair his car in place of D
- $150 to cover a moth of fuel expenses if he chooses to repair his car
Clearly, if $800 have to be split into these expenses, this is how he must treat each of the above expenses:
- Is a need. It cannot be overlooked
- Is an aspiration (or a want) and can be avoided for now
- Food is a need and the $200 spent on a repair is able to save a lot of added expenses on takeaways
- Since the cost repairing his car plus the cost of fuel for a month is equal to the cost of hiring a taxi, the combination of E & F would lead to a saving in the long run and is a better choice than spending on D.
How Needs and Wants should Affect Borrowing
We at CashAmericaToday, take pride in being an ethical direct lender. We consistently share valuable information with our borrowers and this is one of the ways in which we do so.
We believe that decisions related to borrowing should be taken considering how important and valuable the expenses are, for which one chooses to borrow. This understanding is bound to help making a wiser decision.
If it’s a need that must be fulfilled and borrowing is understood to be the way out, it is very likely to be a good decision to borrow. The more the scale tilts towards aspiration-related or want-related expenses, the more scrutiny one must make about their decision to borrow. Yes, in many ways, at many times, aspirations are very fruitful which is why we do not recommend absolutely overlooking such expenses. What we wish to convey is that the understanding of needs and wants can play an important role in making a healthy decision to borrow.