Sure, when it comes to my budget, my “needs” are pretty clear; I need to pay my mortgage, I need to buy groceries, I need to save for retirement. But behind those survival basics, need and want get kinda blurry. Since I don’t really “need” anything, how do I most strategically spend the small pot I’ve money I’ve got for life’s little pleasures?
As you guys know, I generally try to spend on things I seem to really gravitate towards—travel related items, food-related items, and clothing-related items—in order to best maximize my discretionary dollar. But to break it down further, I started a little list to keep me from straying too far off track. For instance, I’ve had the same pair of walking sneaks since….2004. I’m not sure if that says more about my cheapness or the fact that I never exercise, but every time I put on those ratty suckers (which are about a half size too big) I just feel “blah.” They definitely do not spark Kondo-style joy. So, new walking sneakers went on my list. Rather than spend the $25 bucks I ultimately spent on new kicks (I said I was cheap, didn’t I?) on, I dunno, another crappy Henley I didn’t need, I put it towards a clothing item higher up on the usefulness scale.
Plus, who doesn’t love a list? After I created my sort of personal “this would be nice and also useful” list (See how I avoided saying “need”?…I’m really fighting it!) I started one for our house. G and I set aside a small amount of money each month for general home-related stuff (flowers for the front porch, a new candle, new pillows, etc.), and so we walked the house, room-by-room, deciding what would really complete each space. This helps us focus our dollars and avoid buying more crap we don’t need that really just clutters up the joint.
So there you have it. I’m really trying to get rid of my “I need this” attitude and change that into a “I understand that I don’t need this, but it would be useful to have” attitude. I’m hoping that, at the end of the day, it leaves me a little more financially savvy and a little less of a greedy brat. And that’s just a win-win, right?
How do you handle needs versus wants?