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Do you say, “I need that” when you see something you’d like to buy? Don’t.

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Do you like shopping? And have you ever said, “I need that” when you see something you’d like to buy? Here’s why you should never ever say that again. 

How long would you survive without oxygen? Without fresh water? Without food? 

How about without a cell phone, your handbag, a scented candle?

How long would it take for you to stop existing?

Why you should never say, "I need that" when shopping | Intentional Spending | Balanced shopping habits | Mindful Shopping | Money management | Personal Finance | For beginners | Money saving tips | Track your spending | Spend money wisely | Spend less | Wealth | Simple tips & hacks | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #SaturdayGift

How to separate needs from wants

For some people having a designer hand bag is a ‘must have’.

They say:

  • I must have it!
  • I can’t live without it!
  • I’m going to die if I can’t have it!

Yes, if you say those things, the designer hand bag sounds like a must have. It seems like your life depends on it.

But if you forget for a moment the it’s-a-must-have-and-i’m-going-to-cry-if-I-can’t-have-it-kind-of-people, for us others having a roof over our heads, fresh water and food would be considered a ‘must have’ – maybe even electricity, a refridgerator, plumbing, shower and clothing.

And a lot of people in this world survive without some of these luxuries which we sometimes even take for granted.

But let’s first define what are ‘must have’, ‘need to have’ and ‘nice to have’ things, before you can learn how they are going to help you to think differently about buying and owning things.

What are must haves, need to haves and nice to haves?

Of course a ‘must have’, a ‘need to have’ and a ‘nice to have’ are different for each one of us, because our lives are different and our needs vary. But if I can generalize to make a point, this is how I’d define them: 

A must have

A must have is something you’ll need to stay alive – like roof over your head, nutrition, fresh water, rest, safety. These cover your basic needs.

A must have is not a handbag, design light or new pair of heals. Those things might not even be “a need to have”.

A need to have

A need to have is something that helps you live your life  – like good nutrition, a nice and warm home, some clothing and hygiene products, gas in your car to get to work just to name a few.

You could still survive without the need-to-have things, but they make your life easier and help you maintain your job that pays your (and your family’s) basic needs.

So for some people a new pair of heals could be “a need to have” if that’s what they would need for their work so they can feed their family.

A nice to have

“A nice to have” is everything else. It’s the stuff that you want. This is the category that clutters your life, because for some reason you thought you needed these things when in reality you just wanted them.

This post is part of an article series 25 out-of-the-box tips to change your mindset about how you spend your money

Are you ‘guilty’ of lying to yourself? I know I am.

When you’ve seen something nice, pretty or interesting, have you ever said: “I need that!”? Or maybe you’ve even tricked yourself of thinking it’s a “must have”. 

I admit, I was (and still sometimes am) guilty of lying to myself that way.

When you say: “I must have (fill the blank)”, in most of the cases it’s not a must-have. It might not even be a need-to-have, but most likely it’s a nice-to-have thing. It’s something you want, something fun to own, something you like.

And after you’ve gotten that nice thing and enjoyed it for a moment (if even that) it becomes old. And then you start wanting something new again – another nice-to-have thing. And you might say: “I must have that one! I need that!”. 

But what’s so horribly wrong about saying “I need that”?

There’s nothing wrong about saying “I need that!”. But maybe the question itself is wrong. A better question would be: Is it good for me to say I need that!.  

Maybe it just feels easier to say you need something than to say you want something – even though you would be stating that to yourself. Or maybe you justify your purchases by saying you need them, so that you wouldn’t seem selfish or greedy. 

Or you justify them so you could have them.

But does lying to yourself make you feel the shopper’s quilt and the buyer’s remorse? Are you feeling guilty because you are lying that you need things?

Maybe you are nodding your head reading this and thinking, “Ok, I get your point – I don’t need things, I want them. So what. What now? So what if I want nice (to have) things?”

What if I want nice (to have) things?

It’s ok to want nice things. 

And I can’t stress this enough. It’s ok to want AND have nice things.

But let’s do ourselves a favor and call them what they are. They are not a ‘must’ or something you need – they are nice-to-have things.

And please let me say this again: it’s ok to want (and have) nice things. 


Needing = lacking

If you call nice things that will bring you joy a necessity -something you need – you might feel like you are lacking something if you don’t get or have them. And that is the biggest disservice you can do to yourself.

Needing equals lacking. And you don’t want to feel like you are lacking something or missing out when you’re not.

So if needing equals lacking, then what does wanting equal?

What if Wanting would equal power

If you would call nice-to-have things what they are – they’re something you want – you wouldn’t be lacking anything. And when you are not lacking anything, you’ll start gaining. You’ll start gaining positive abundance. You have so many things and experiences to choose from and you’ll have the freedom to fulfill your wants.

And you’ll gain the power back.

  • The power to stay in your budget
  • The power to say no to advertisements, jingles and sales that lure you into thinking you need things
  • The power to enjoy buying things without guilt
  • The power to decide what you are willing to maintain and have in your home
  • The power to be honest to yourself 
  • And the power to get to know yourself and be one with your wants and needs.

It doesn’t get any better than that!

Well, actually it does.

You are lucky and your life is luxurious

If you and I have the time and energy to want things, I would call us lucky and our lives luxurious. 

Lucky? Luxurious? Yes! Lucky AND luxurious! 

We have luxurious lives where all our basic needs (like food, water, warmth, rest, safety) are fulfilled and we don’t have to spend our time – our most valuable currency – fulfilling those needs or worrying about them. 

I would call that being quite lucky and living in luxury. How about you?

Or would you just like to go back to saying “I need that!”, when you see something you like?

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Why you should never say, "I need that" when shopping | Intentional Spending | Balanced shopping habits | Mindful Shopping | Money management | Personal Finance | For beginners | Money saving tips | Track your spending | Spend money wisely | Spend less | Wealth | Simple tips & hacks | SaturdayGift | Saturday gift #SaturdayGift

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