How to Determine if You Really Need Something

A lot of times we think we need something when we really don’t. It may seem like we need it at the time but when you have to do without it – you learn to cope. You may even wonder what you needed it for in the first place! For example, for the longest time we had an automatic garbage can that was motion activated. Well, it broke and we were so frustrated because we couldn’t afford to buy a new one. It was so irritating that we now had to open and close the lid on the garbage can manually (#firstworldproblems). However, we got used to it and we still have that same broken garbage can today. We clearly didn’t need a new one.

What is a Need?

For everyone that’s curious – the definition of a ‘need’ is something that you “require because it is essential or very important.” That’s a pretty laxed definition. It doesn’t say something you “need to survive” like food, water, or shelter. It’s simply what we consider as essential or important. What we think is essential or important can change over time. Perhaps right now, what’s essential to me is my physical fitness. Therefore, I might spend my money on gym memberships, personal trainers, nutritionists, vitamins, etc. However, let’s say now I decide to have a baby. This changes things and I might decide that physical fitness isn’t as essential or important as I thought it was. What I now consider essential and important, is taking care of this baby! The burden is on us to weigh what’s important and decide how to spend our money. But, it’s important to keep in mind that we don’t have an infinite amount of money. That’s why it’s so important to live within your means and appreciate what you have.

Appreciating What You Have

Over time my husband and I have realized that there a lot that we don’t really need. We are starting to learn how to live with what we have and be thankful for it. This way we can save up for what we really want in the future, instead of using debt to pay for it now. It’s always a challenge trying to balance your long term needs with your short term wants. But it’s essential to living a frugal lifestyle and saving money. We live in a day and age where people always want more and aren’t appreciative of what they have. I sometimes have to stop and think about the fact that there are many people my age that don’t have a house, a good job, and a loving husband.

There are so many families out there struggling worse than we are and so I feel it’s unfair of me to complain about my life or feel down about our debt. I know there are people out there who have it worse than we do and would kill to have what we have. Now, I’m striving to be more grateful for what I do have and focusing on my goals. That’s the best way to put things in place so I can save money and achieve our long term goal of paying off debt so we can be financially independent.

The Flow Chart of Needs

With all the said, going forward I am going to ask myself the following questions each time I want to buy something to determine if I really need it:

  1. Determine if you really “need it”. 
    1. Is it essential or important enough. If not, then don’t buy it.
  2. Can you make it yourself?
    1. Sometimes you might think you really need some chap stick or more windex, but there are actually ways you can make these at home yourself and save money! I always try to look into if I can make something myself before going out and buying it. However, we can’t always make everything ourselves.
  3. Can it wait?
    1. Sometimes we go out and buy things right away and don’t give ourselves a chance to wait and see if we can do without. Sometimes you think you need something, but if you wait and re-evaluate you might determine that you really don’t need it after all.

If you really need it, you can’t make it yourself, and it can’t wait – then chances are it truly is a need and is probably worth buying. It can be really hard to say “No” to your loved ones and the things that you really want. So to help you, check out our post on How to Say No to the Things You Don’t Need.

Mrs. Frugal

Just your average millennial trying to navigate life and get rid of debt by being frugal.

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