Needs vs. Wants: The Battle for Your Money

Saving money means putting a little away every time you receive it. If you receive $20 for your birthday, you can save $15 and still spend $5. The more you save, the more money you'll have. Pretty cool, huh?

Sometimes, saving money isn’t always easy, especially if you have to spend some of it on things you need right away. The challenge is knowing what you need right now, and what you can wait to buy later.

In order to know whether you should save or spend your money, you need to know the difference between NEEDS and WANTS.

What is a Need?

A Need is something that you can't live without. Here are some things we need to survive:

  • Healthy food
  • Warm clothes
  • Shoes
  • A place to live
  • Transportation

Can you think of other Needs?

What is a Want?
A Want is something that would be cool to have, but you can survive without. Here are some examples of things we all like to have, but we don't need them to survive:

  • Ice cream
  • iPod
  • Video games
  • DVDs
  • Movie tickets

Can you think of other Wants?

What's the big deal?
If you spend too much money on the things you want, you won’t have enough money for the things you need. Could you imagine what would happen if your parents spent all their money on ice cream and couldn’t buy you shoes? Not cool!

It’s OK to buy things you want sometimes, but, for most people, needs must come first.

What if something is a Need AND a Want?
You may find that something can be both a need and a want. For example, food could be a need or a want. You need to eat nutritious food to stay healthy. Healthy portions of fruits, grains, vegetables, dairy, and protein are needs.

Eating an order of jumbo chili fries is a want. Although chili fries may taste good to some people, it’s not the best way to receive your vitamins and other nutrients. Eating chili fries isn’t a need.

Can you think about other things that can be a need and a want? How about clothes? It’s important to have a warm coat for winter, but do you really need a designer coat for $200? Probably not. An inexpensive coat may keep you warm enough and save some money for other important needs later.

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