Saturday, January 25, 2020

Wants verses Needs

Which would you rather have? 

$25 Restaurant Meal 
or
 $25 Worth of Groceries 

We need food to survive, but it doesn't have to be a restaurant meal, so a restaurant meal can easily turn into a want. If I had my choice I might pick the restaurant meal, but if I'm looking to save money that I would choose the $25 worth of groceries. 

If you look at the food spending of an average American family you'll see that eating outside the home is one of the most common items to break the budget. 

Many Americans knowingly spend more than they can afford on dining out. Of course we say it all the time here, but one of the best ways to save money in this category is to eat at home. 

Wants verses needs. How do we decide? In the end it comes down to personal choices and lucky for us we have the freedom to choose what's right for us. 

If we are looking to save money how do we decide which is better for our budget? Let's take a look at some examples of basic needs turning into wants.

Water- To stay hydrated, all you need is water. However, this need can turn into a want with things like bottled water or fancier seltzer waters. Fiji water is a natural artesian water that has minerals that are good for you, but of course that makes it more expensive too.

The water that comes out of our faucets is cleaner than much of the water in third world countries. They have it so much harder than we do and so I'm grateful for the clean water we have.

Food - Food can come in many forms, and the healthier the better. But, going out to eat all the time turns this need into a want and can cause you to spend more than necessary.

Several of the frugal/personal finance people write about not eating out. Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette, Jaspreet Singh from Minority Mindset along with several others state that they do not eat out at all.

Food is a necessity and while a restaurant meal might be something we would like to have, we don't need it to survive. If you're careful, $25 worth of groceries can stretch much farther than a $25 restaurant meal.

Shelter - The place you decide to live doesn’t have to break your budget. You can rent a room from someone, live in an apartment, a tiny home, a mobile home, etc. But this need can become a want if you overspend or buy something above your means.

Clothing - Clothing needs include such things as pants, shirts, shoes and undergarments. You can get affordable clothing by shopping for items you know will fit within your budget.

This spending category can easily turn into a want, however. Expensive clothing and shoes can easily end up costing you thousands of dollars, and those things are not needed in order to survive.

Learning to differentiate between wants and needs will help you stay out of debt, which can help you reach financial freedom sooner. 

Belinda 
~ Living within our Means ~

18 comments :

  1. It is a balancing act, and of course as humans with any financial means, the wants sometimes win out. I always appreciated the "wow" factor test that Amy wrote about in the Tightwad Gazette books/articles. Ordering a Foodsby lunch delivery for $10 has not a single wow for me more than bringing leftovers for a work meal. I've ordered once and only once, and likely will never again. Having a nice meal out for our anniversary, or for a birthday and ordering a food I would never have at home is often to me, worth more wows than celebrating at home. Clothing is a big area that wow factor and value-how long will I have it and how much wear will it get-factors in. For example, had I spent $100 plus on a dress for my nieces wedding two summers ago, my original budget, the wow factor would not have been more than my excitement at finding a dress that I liked for $24. I had many compliments on the style and color-and as would the $100 dress, it has hung in my closet since as I don't have many occasions to wear a dress of that style. I am trying to figure out how to make it work for my nieces March wedding but seasonally, it might not work.

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    1. Amy's "wow" factor is a good test, Sam. I'm with you in the restaurant meal out for a birthday. That is one of my favorite things. I would rather go out to eat than have a present to open. The dress is another good factor of that. Thank you for the good example.

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  2. You know we don't eat out that often, but I never thought of it like that. 25 dollars worth of groceries versus a 25 dollar meal. I guess we have always had so much food stored I could always whip up a nice meal. I think when we eat out it is becasue I want a treat. But I don't need a treat. Well maybe a donut.

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    1. For me a treat would be pizza. I've not had any this month as we are not eating out. I can't remember when I last had a slice. Probably in December.

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  3. I think when you rarely eat out, it then becomes much more of a treat and it's really appreciated. That way you can save up and go out when the finances permit.
    xx

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    1. Exactly Joy! I feel the same way, it's a treat when you rarely indulge in eating out.

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  4. More than a matter of being thrifty, I prefer my choice of foods and sanitation in my kitchen.

    Decades observing the best of chefs via media as they dip fingers into a food during preparation, touch facial parts and hair, wipe food off preparation surface and then use same cloth/apron to wipe food dropped on side of plate, or sneeze/cough into hand, I conclude that I can prepare/cook foods to my preference at home.

    Most of us do not consume specialty foods, anyway. Mexican, Italian, and Asian foods are everyday fare: Tacos/enchiladas, spaghetti/pizza, and stir fries/egg rolls. Come on, I can prepare those foods without a high I.Q.

    YouTube easily teaches us to make an excellent cup of coffee and tea.

    Browsing thrift shops and yard sales yields very cheap and lovely dishware for occasions. People can't give away china tableware. No one wants it. Time to thrift a few pieces of dishware to serve what may be found at tea shops. Hardly a restaurant that serves on fine dishware.

    I have a bone china set via deceased MIL who paid $58 in 1958 through a Navy nephew in Japan. My kiddos will not want grandmother's china when I am gone; so, my everyday use is okay with me. If it breaks, it breaks.

    DH and I in our empty nest eat as we choose or as medical doctors insist. Setting aside money in a budget or using coupons for fast foods is wasted on us. Not being a "Soup Nazi," I do not dictate how others consume food. In my home, my dining table is my happy place. Enjoy:::Enjoy:::Enjoy
    -memphis metro

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    1. I used to keep china and glassware for 'best' until I realised just what you said. Now I no longer have 'best' because the best is used everyday. I have to say, drinking water out of Edinburgh crystal is lovely!
      xx

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    2. Oh, how neat, Joy. drinking water out of Edinburgh crystal...I would love that too.

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  5. Excellent points, Anna. The sanitation is so important. How many times do we read in the news that such and such restaurant failed their health inspection that week for various reasons related to sanitation. Makes me want to eat at home more than ever.

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    1. A food safety inspector friend of many years told that unsafe foods were daily being served in the most popular eating places. He tested. He knew first hand.

      My kiddos related unsafe practices as food was prepared, cooked, and served. They were waiters.

      As a teen, an owner told me to add more vanilla to oudated cans of custard mix before adding to soft custard machine and to wash off insects in cherry container.

      Wish I were providing my kitchen food from my own garden, trees, and bushes 'cause we live in a scary world of hand to mouth consumption. A majority requires store bought foods. Halt the trucking industry for a week and without a pantry, USA would be full of food thievery.
      -memphis metro

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    2. One time my friend was eating at a Ryan's buffet when she noticed the employee putting regular ranch dressing into the fat free container and she said something to him. He told her that she wasn't supposed to notice that. There is no telling what they are dong when we can't see them. The thought is frightening. I wish we also were providing our kitchen from our own gardens.

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  6. There was a time when I could get a little hungry and carry on. Now, I have to have a nibble and that is when we stop for a cheap burger. We rarely eat out. I would rather spend money on groceries most of the time. Someone else took us out this last week. So, his treat and none of our money.

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    1. Oh, that is nice when someone else wants to take you out to dinner. Very nice. :)

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  7. This is a great post and so true. Hubby and I can make a great steak meal at home for less than half the cost of a restaurant meal. Plus we get leftovers!! 😂

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    1. Leftovers are the best, Penny. We had them for breakfast today.

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  8. Our eating out has decreased considerably. But when we do, it is beer and pizza! Maybe once a month now, but when I was working, it was every Friday.

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    1. Pizza would be my choice too, Lisa. Either that or Mexican. :)

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