Thursday, April 9, 2009


What are needs? Besides the basic life needs. Someone I know finished reading Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan and apparently she gives suggestions on safeguarding your money. From what I understand, one should only purchase "needed" things. This, of course, led me to ask, "What is a need?"

Possibly, one person's need is an other's want.. or vice versa. Does a city dweller need a car if public transportation is available? Does a college student need a personal computer if computers are available at the university? These are possibly bigger needs v. wants.

I understand that having cable TV is a want. Purchasing books rather than getting them from the library is a want (although the book stores would sorely miss my revenue). Having my hair colored at a salon rather than coloring it at home is a want.

Shallow wants/needs are a bit harder to discern. Do I switch from gourmet teas to Lipton if Lipton is cheaper? Do I stop wearing mascara to save money? Do I stop driving 2-4 hours to see my kids because the cost of gas adds up? And do making any of these changes really result in significant savings?

I'm getting twitchy just typing this because I have long held the "my wants are my needs" philosophy. Yes, I've been spoiled. Do I think I need to strongly assess my wants v. needs? Yes, probably so. But, (she whined) it is so hard!!

I struggle with the idea of saving for retirement because I don't know how long I will live. What if the world really does end in 2012 (according to the Mayans), and I've been putting money away for naught. I understand that material things don't buy happiness. But if I'm going to bother with retirement funds I'd like to be able to experience the joy of spending them.

The way I see it, in order to really stick to needs, I must cut out cable, buying books and magazines, buy store coffee rather than gourmet coffee and tea, use only the card supplies I have rather than buying more. I could groom my dog myself, color my own hair, stop getting facials, massages, and pedicures (I don't get them often), not buy new clothes or shoes and use what I have. I would stop buying lattes, expensive eye shadow, candles, plants, and would stop going out to eat. But, would I enjoy my life as much? At age 54 am I to stop doing what I enjoy?

Hard questions for each to answer. I'm trying....I more often fail to say no to wants than I succeed, but I am trying. I'm going to save money by not buying Suze's book but may browse it at B&N. Maybe then I'll have a better grasp of the concept.


Cheryle said...

Okay, you've made me laugh right in the midst of worrying about you having enough money for retirement!

One grandchild WANTS everything he sees; the other one NEEDS everything she sees! At ages 3 and 2, I suppose we can just laugh and tuck the memory away to tease them about later.

At 54, you're getting close, though. I wish I'd saved more for retirement since I will depend entirely on Jim's retirement and my Social Security. I think there's a delicate balance and I don't pretend to have the answers - especially since I didn't do so well myself!

Forget the Mayans and 2012. The end of the world can come for an individual at any time; there aren't any guarantees! But for Pete's sake, DON'T stop going to see the kids. You may have to live with them someday and you'll want them to remember how you sacrificed! :-)

Vicky said...

Prioritize, my dear. And always remember - you can't take it with you.

Marcia said...
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