Thursday Poll: Wants v. Needs

“I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.”
― Jackie Mason

Let’s have moment of radical honesty together. Following an earlier post, and in the interest of full disclosure, here’s a by-no-means comprehensive list of things I don’t have and shamelessly want. Some are silly, some are serious, some I clearly don’t need, but if money were no object, these were the things that first sprang to mind:

All debt paid off in an instant

A suddenly, fully furnished apartment

A new pair of high waisted jeans that don’t have holes in the knees

Always more lipstick

Over-the-knee boots

A fully outfitted kitchen

Multiple media subscriptions

A realistic path towards owning property



An iPad to make work on the go easier

A spa day

Gucci loafers (second hand of course)

A cleaning service

An immediately available annual travel budget

 photo dublin1_zpsxvng17q4.jpg
Literally everything I took with me for a long weekend abroad once. 

But were I not on a shopping ban and suddenly had more spending money for the month, what would I get tomorrow if I had to prioritize? I gave myself a mental exercise and actually thought about this for a while: what do I feel like I actually need right now? I consulted my running lists of personal and home good wants before writing another list down:

A larger monthly payment towards student loans/credit cards. Eliminating these suckers would not just free up income, but reduce a lingering background stressor, and allow us to start saving more.

A monthly contribution towards NPR and PBS, given the current political climate. I classify this as a need, because I am very seriously feeling a need to contribute time and money to the causes I care about moving forward. Talk is cheap!

A stock pot for the purposes of more winter soups and the ability to make larger quantities of food during meal prep.

A new and better quality duvet for our bed. Winter ain’t coming any more, it’s here!

Possibly the unwripped jeans…but I have other trousers to wear so then again, probably not!

And…that’s it. I’m serious. What I want and what feel I need have next to no overlap at the moment. I have a place to live, means to get around, pretty hood health overall, and the ability to buy food. I’m up to date on my health appointments, a huge amount of quality media is available to me either free of charge or relatively cheap, and clothes on my back. Everything else would be nice to have but I’m either working towards it, I can get by with what I’ve got in the meantime, or I frankly don’t need it.

Which leads me to conclude, in spite of a good overall sense of how much I spend, I’ve underestimated how much of my life I’ve framed in terms of “wants.” It’s very easy to want things, it takes discipline to determine actual needs. And I’ve clearly been less disciplined than I’d like to admit.

If you made a list of needs, what would be the top three right now? What about what you want–and remember, this is a judgement free zone! 

One thought on “Thursday Poll: Wants v. Needs”

  1. So true….Three needs: 1) a dental appointment (overdue); 3) skin check (ditto); 3) car inspection. So boooooorrrrrrrring! 🙂

    Some of the things I want: 1) a much, much bigger budget for spending — I now have to go months without shopping for anything more than gas and groceries because we are so skint from the $20k a year we now have to pay for health insurance. I resent every penny of it, but am unwilling to economize on it either.

    Wants: some pretty new shoes and stockings (with 3 more months of winter ahead.) Some spa appts — eyebrow/massage/facial. Much more culture (ballet, etc.); have treated myself to a baroque concert at Carnegie Hall and 2 Keith Jarett tix for Valentine’s Day. More/better meals out — not just cheap Chinese or diners for now.

    Get a very good duvet — it is worth every penny! Love ours.

    My last splurge (insane) was a 12-pc early 19th c tea set. Precisely because it’s old, lovely, and we are using it every day. We need bread AND roses. 🙂

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