We aren’t cavemen anymore: determining your wants from your needs

May 31st, 2016

Believe it or not, there was a time when all a human being needed was simply food, a way to prepare the said food, access to water, shelter and warmth. In a world that’s getting confused between “I want it” and “I need it”, we thought now would be a good time to have a chat about wants vs needs.

It’s funny to think back to a time where mobile phone bills weren’t a ‘thing’ (let’s be honest, it’s hard enough to remember the good old days when you had to dial up your internet to run MSN Messenger – rest in peace). But as technology has developed, so too has people’s wants turned into needs.

It’s realistic to say that if you have a job, you’ll need a way to get to your place of work. If you have a family, then you’ll need a way to protect their health. And unless you plan on living in a nudist colony down in Byron Bay, you’ll probably need some clothes, too.

In what could be the very first step in creating a dynamic budget (and one that you’ll stick to), setting aside your wants from your needs is vital in making sure you’re paving a path in the right direction for your bank account.


Here’s how you start:

If you’re a serial spender, put down the latte and write a list of things you need. Include things like groceries, your transport expenses, insurance, rent, hygiene products, basic phone bills and stuff like that. Here’s a handy little template you can use as a guide. (Be mindful that some things you think you need are actually wants in disguise. Here is Nimble’s ultimate list of ways to save weekly spendings, to help you get your needs down to the bare minimum).

Once you’ve weeded out your needs and you find yourself with some extra cashola, you can start to map out your wants.

If you’re on a roll and cutting down on your unexplained and unwarranted spending and still have some leftover moolah (you little ripper), you can make a new little list entitled ‘luxuries’. The key here is to keep this list small and only purchase things from this list on a minimal basis or as a reward for saving a certain amount of cash, landing the dream job or sticking to your new fitness regime for six months.

In saying all of that, here’s some #realtalk we think is important to keep in mind when creating this list:

  1. Make sure you save a percentage of your wage each time you’re paid for any unexpected bills, events or life-changers.
  1. Don’t completely cut out any of your required expenditures (AKA ‘needs’). Being stingy on insurance or your savings will come back to bite you. However, remember to do a financial audit regularly to ensure you’re not paying more for your essential expenses than you need to.
  1. On the flip side of that, it’s important not to completely forego wants, as they’re the things that fuel your creativity, help you to find your career or your soul mate as well as making life interesting and fun. Above all, it’s about balance and compromise.



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