wants and needs

Distinguish between wants and needs
Distinguishing between wants and needs depends a great deal on your perspective. The more narrow someone interprets their life, the more likely they are to rationalize some wants as needs. For instance, in high school someone could literally buy status and position by the brand of clothing they wear. In this myopic view teenagers tend to be rather passionate about the brand of jeans they wear (instead of being satisfied with any pair of jeans that covers their behind).

Widening one’s view allows wants to be exposed as wants. Needs hardly need justification to be purchased.

What are needs?

You can’t get through college without seeing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As you discover what your needs are consider Maslow’s approach. The only things in the diagram that are actual physical (or material) things are on the base of pyramid. The longer someone dwells in the lower level the less likely they are to move to higher levels. From my own life and watching others, the biggest problem comes when we try to fulfill a higher need by ‘purchasing’ it.


When wants become needs.

Consumer debt is a major problem in the United States. This type of debt represents a gluttony of wants justified as needs. One way to curb wants before they become needs is to switch to an all cash lifestyle. As this happens many of the items purchased with consumer debt are never purchased. Saving up to buy big ticket items allows time to make more rational decisions (and give you a chance to shop around).

What do you think?
What have you seen that helps prevent wants becoming needs? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Tagged with:

Credit Cards
Getting rid of credit card debt is both rewarding and challenging at the same time. I know from experience that getting into debt is much easier than getting out. Most of the debt I’ve put on credit cards has been a result of home improvements. We bought a fixer upper home and decided that using credit cards would be the easiest way to finance the needed improvements. We are getting a handle on our credit card debt but it feels like an uphill battle all the way.

Call for a lower interest rate

If you have never called your credit card companies you might give it a try. If you have been a good customer with no late payments you’ll have some negotiating power when you call. If you haven’t maxed out your credit card you will get better results as well. When you call tell your credit card company inform them that you’ve been getting offers in the mail with better interest rates. You can also mention that you’re thinking about using a balance transfer card to lower your payments. Ask them what they can do for you in terms of lowering your rate and increasing your credit limit. Lowering your interest rate can help your payback time considerably. A higher credit limit that is not in use will improve your credit score for the next time you call.

Rapid Payoff Schedule

Setting up a payoff schedule that works with your budget will have your debts paid off in no time. Don’t shoot for the moon when you set this up. Instead, try something that is doable. The $100 used in this example can change depending on your debt. You want to avoid making the ‘minimum payment’ on each of your cards. Try to be the most aggressive with the highest interest card on the top of the list.

1st phase of payments
A – 14% account – $100
B – 12% account – $100
C – 11% account – $100
D – 9% account – $100
E – 8% account – $100

First order your debts from the highest interest to the lowest. Set up a flat (or consistant) payment you can make on each account every month.

2nd phase of payments
A – Paid off! – Now use this $100 for account B
B – $200

C – $100
D – $100
E – $100

After a set amount of time ‘Account A’ (the first account) will be paid off. Instead of taking that $100 back use it on Account B. You’ve already budgeted for it and it will speed up you payment schedule.

3rd phase of payments
A – Paid off!
B – Paid off!
C – $300

D – $100
E – $100

When you get to Account C you will be putting $300 towards it each month. Continue ‘stacking up’ your entire debt payments on each account until you don’t have any more credit card debt.

Switch to an All Cash Life Style

Switching to cash is the best way to avoid any credit card traps into the future. It forces you to start saving for large purchases and frees up a lot of wasted money you’d pay in interest. At 22% you’d spend $2,200 a year in interest payments just maintaining $10,000 of debt. Can you image what you could do with an extra $2,200 every year? Switching to cash and paying off your credit cards will help you put this money back in your pocket.

I don’t believe in freezing your cards. If you’ve had real problems with credit cards shred ’em! Paying off credit cards is very rewarding; psychologically and monetarily.

Tagged with: