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  • Thames Budget Service

Needs and Wants - What's the difference?

What do we see as a "Need" and what do we see as a "Want"? Essential spending and discretionary (optional) spending can be redefined as Needs and Wants.

  • We NEED to pay our bills to stay in our houses, have water, power and food.

  • We may WANT to eat dinner in restaurants, go to a pub with friends or buy a Lotto ticket.

The trick to good habits with money is to know the difference.

A key difference between the two is that cheaper alternatives can often be found to achieve

"Wants". Look at these examples of Needs and Wants.

We NEED food (We WANT to get takeaways)

We NEED clothes to wear We WANT to buy designer label jeans

We NEED transport We WANT a car that will impress people

We NEED to stay fit We WANT to book sessions in the downtown gym

We NEED some time out We WANT to book ourselves on a holiday

So next time you think you "need" something, ask yourself "Is this really is a "need", or is it a "want"?" If you NEED it, what cheaper alternatives are there? Can you get it second hand from TradeMe, Facebook or our good old local Seagull Centre? Op shop? Borrow it? Get a cheaper brand? Upcycle something you already have? Improvise!


Photo Credit: Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash


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