Do you want it or Do you need it?

Imagine that you are hungry and have to decide between a nutritious meal and a delicious chocolate bar. The bar might look more appealing, but you know that the meal is what you need. It will help you stop being hungry, while the chocolate will only be a whim. Distinguishing between want and need is not always so easy.

It’s important that we know when something is necessary vs. when something is only a whim or a want. While there is a time and a place for indulging, we should not let this behavior get away from us.

The first thing to do is ask yourself why you want something.

Do you want it because it will help you? Do you want it because it will please you? Do you want it because all your friends have one?

When you can clearly articulate the reasons for wanting something, it becomes easier to see what’s just a whim and what is useful.

Next, consider the importance of the thing you are considering. Will you use it or will it just sit there? Will it make you happier, healthier, better at your job? Will it save you time? How long will the effects last? Will you still want it tomorrow?

Will you regret this decision?

Our wants often involve something that is fleeting. Our needs often involve something solid, that will last us, that will have a significant impact on our well-being.

There is no harm in a chocolate every once in a while. But we shouldn’t buy it over a healthy meal.

A good idea is to avoid impulse purchases. If you want to buy something, wait a little. Give it a day or two. If you still want it, go for it.

A little time and a little distance can help us clarify what is necessary and what is a passing desire. It will help us save money and avoid regrets.

Focus on what you need. Put most of your time, money, and effort towards these goals. Leave a little for the whims, but never so much that you don’t have enough for what’s necessary.