I was invited for a dinner by one of my friend’s last friday. Apart from the host, I didn’t know anyone there. I was left with no choice but to actually use some of the things I learned in The Winner’s Way! So there I was trying to make a liberated conversation.
After some awkward moments of "Hi" and "What do you" I manage to strike conversation with a couple of people. I realized like me, they too were unknown to each other. Eventually our group got comfortable with each other. That’s when one guy brought up the subject of money. One subject that every one seemed to have an opinion about! He started out by making a witty remark about how low his salary was. Then everyone found the "me too" aspect of it, and was fueling the conversation.
One person said that he would be happy if he could earn a salary, which would enable him to buy the things he wanted. For example, if he wanted 42 inch flat screen television, he should be in a comfortable position to buy that. Then another said, "If I can afford it, there is a possibility I might not want to buy it. But it is always nice to know that I can buy it, even if I don’t need it." Even though I could also relate to what was said, I didn’t make any remarks at the time. I thought I would leave it for a blog post!
Anyway, isn’t it true? The more money we make, the more we tend to spend. Most of the time, we want things we can’t afford; when we can afford such item we don’t seem to have the "want" to buy it; the endless cycle of materialism continues. Can you relate to that?
The difference between wants and needsOur wants and needs are not the same. Of course, you already know that! I want you to take a good look around your household. Tell me honestly, can you spot any items you once bought thinking they were an absolute need. Are you still using those items or are they just collecting dust somewhere?
Sometimes, it is difficult to draw a line between the two. A want for one person, may be a need for another person. They are dependent on our culture, career, lifestyle etc.
Don’t allow yourself to substitute a need for a wantWhen you looked around your household, surely you must have found several items that you once you stamped as needs.
If you can take the time to start being honest with yourself, you will find that a lot of the things which you assumed were an absolute necessity until now, are in reality, nothing more than wants.
Identify patterns of spendingThis is something I did to great effect when I was in my internship. We were given a minimal salary to get by. I wanted to make the maximum out of that and save whatever was possible. At the time, I didn’t know a great deal about budgeting. It all started with a simple list of all things that I found myself buying. Then I ranked each item. I wanted to see what was important and where the money was going.
This will no doubt enable you to notice where you financial priorities are and where it should be.
Temptation, the only thing I can’t resistMagazines, news papers, television, internet.. In this day and age, we are exposed to loads of advertising. Have you ever felt like everyone is trying to sell you something? Sometimes, we get the need to buy something only when the need is created for us.
No saving is too smallThe tendency is more to buy less expensive things we don’t really need. We think, "Oh, it doesn’t cost much, no harm in buying". Over time, these things accumulate and these are some of the things that can be identified by keeping a log of your spending habits.
Life is not ALL about wants and needsI know that this might sound a bit contradicting. In reality, there are times when we all like to buy the wants. For example, you might want to buy your loved one flowers or a gift. This doesn’t necessarily reflect a need.
What I am trying to say is, don’t be too hard on yourself and forbid yourself of every pleasure. At the end of the day, some things can’t be bought in dollars and cents. Use your best judgment.
"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." ~ Will Rogers
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- Thinking About Money The Rich Dad, Poor Dad Way
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