Guess what? It’s okay to want things!
The discussion of needs versus wants is a very interesting one, and unfortunately, many people get it wrong. There are really only a few things we truly need as humans. We need safety, we need shelter and clothing, we need food and water, and we need love. Anything beyond this is a want. But many of us have been taught that wants are bad and selfish. We shouldn’t want anything beyond the basics. We should just be grateful because, after all there are starving children in Africa.
It’s Okay to Want Things
Since we’ve been taught that wants are selfish, we justify our wants as needs. We need a new car. We need to move to a better neighborhood. We need to buy a pair of Jordans for our teenage son. The problem is when we make wants into needs, we taint the energy around them. There’s always an air of desperation and lack when we talk about our needs. We’re like the little kid in the grocery store who grates your nerves when you hear his whiny voice, “Mommy, I need it!”
Needs vs. Wants
When it comes to our personal finances, of course we need to ensure that our needs are met first. If our basic needs aren’t met, we don’t feel safe. We will automatically come from a place of lack and desperation. But once our needs are met. it’s more than okay to include our wants in a balanced spending plan.
When we want something, it is a desire of the heart. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! It’s okay to want fresh flowers on your kitchen table every week. It’s okay to want to drive a luxury car. It’s okay to want a name brand handbag. It’s okay to want season tickets to your favorite pro sports team.
Waiting Magnifies Your Wants
We might not be able to purchase all of our wants immediately, but that’s actually a good thing. Why? Waiting for a period of time, whether it be days, weeks, or months, before our desire is fulfilled actually increases the enjoyment of it. As I saved up money for my Alfa Romeo Giulia, I frequently visited the Alfa website and imagined how thrilling it would feel, driving it off the dealer’s lot. I anticipated buying my dream car for almost an entire year before purchasing it with cash. The satisfaction of having a long-lived desire finally realized was amazing.
Wanting Makes the Buying Process More Enjoyable
I allowed myself to enjoy every single detail of the buying process. I savored the test drive. I waited overnight to make sure I really, really wanted to buy it. I enjoyed writing the check for it.
Honestly, I did not need a new car. My previous car was seven years old and still in very good condition. But I had the money to purchase it, and I really wanted it. I don’t feel guilty about it, and I enjoy every minute of driving it. This is how buying your wants should be.
If I had purchased this car within a month or two of seeing it, and I had to finance it, I don’t think this purchase would’ve had the pure desire behind it.
Treasure Your Wants After You Buy Them
I’ve noticed something interesting. When I purchase something I really, really want, I tend to treasure it even more after I buy it. When it catches my eye, I still feel that tingle of desire, and think, “I am so glad I bought that!” I’m grateful for it and I take excellent care of it.
Here’s the bottom line: it’s okay to want things! I officially give you permission. Just ensure that 1) your needs are met first, and 2) you’re not taking on excessive (or any!) debt to buy it.
What’s on your “Want List” right now? As for me, it’s a pair of red leather gloves to match the interior of my new car! (Excuse me while I go browse online.)
Curious if Financial Dignity® Coaching can help you attain a healthy balance of needs and wants? Let’s chat and find out!