Differentiating Between Needs and Wants

Last February I face a dilemma in buying a productive item, what I had in mind is buying a notebook or subscribing an internet connection. Both cost a large sum of money and both gave me a great deal of use in helping me working as a web developer or as an application engineer, that’s why I had to choose which one should I buy. After a couple of days thinking which one I should buy, I choose to subscribe internet connection, why do u say? It is because the factor of “Wants” was too dominant in buying a notebook than the urge of “Needs” in getting it.

By differentiating the urge of “Needs” and “Wants” I can use my wealth in buying a productive means. I think this is the first fundamental concept that should be planted if u wants to success financially, especially if you are employees that have a fixed income.

Before we elaborate the differentiation of wants and needs, let’s look at the meaning of the words. “Needs” means that we have to do something (or anything) to accomplish or fulfilled it because we “needs” to. Example of action based on need is buying food (staple), buying basic work clothes, paying taxes and buying a productive item. “Wants” on the other side refer more to the action in getting something because you have the desire to have it. Example of action that is based on “want” is buying new cell phones, buying brand new laptop etc.

If you see the meaning of the word, you could say that it is quite similar. But it is different actualy, “Needs” stands on the top of the ladder. “Needs” is the one things that we need to prioritize; “Wants” can be fulfilled after the needs is fulfilled.


In reality it is upside down, many of us use our income to buy certain things that we want before we buy the things that we need. It is often that our income depleted before we could fulfilled our needs. This could be the beginning of an unhealthy consumptive life style. The continuing of this cycle it is because we mis prioritize wants before needs.

To be more specific in differentiating needs and wants there are two things that are bond with these two words:

  1. In “needs” there is a limit to it, but in “wants” don’t. Buying staple foods, paying transportation, paying bills, all of it it’s almost fixed down to its value. But in “wants” there’s no border. If u sees ads of new cell phone with new technology that make u look savvy, your “wants” grow bigger. If you go to the mall and sees new gadget, your “wants” grow bigger again. There is no fixed amount of money that guarantees our “wants” still the same each month; it could be bigger or smaller. So why our income is always depleted before the end of the month? On some cases it’s because we miss prioritize the wants before our needs. If we just fulfilled our needs our basic income will be competent for monthly basic.
  2. Something you needs it isn’t always something you want and in something you wants it isn’t always you needs. Paying bills it isn’t always what we want, but we have to pay it anyway. Buying what we want it isn’t always what we needs, but we buy it anyways because we want it to. Take a new set of clothes for example (even though u had a closet full of it) or a new cell phone and other things like that.

By differentiating it I could separate what I need to be more productive and more resourceful, and I could separate my income into savings and other thing like that.Since I started this website I promise my self that I use my wealth in buying a productive item one each month, u could say that a productive item is an item that produce or help me in creating a substantial income whether it’s passive or active. To help you more in grasping these concepts in helping you manage your financial better, you could read john chow writing on The Gun and Butter Theory. This writing basically is a fundamental in my mind in managing my income.

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One Comment

  1. septi
    Posted March 27, 2007 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    haaah…luthu juga, tapi tetep saja aqu lebih prefer tuk beli barang2 ga guna tapi kepengen banget qu beli. Contoh: komik 20th Century boys, buku2 religius, dan yang pasti segala macam basic make up yang biasa buat dandan itu loh Diaaaaan.

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  • By Want is the path to the Dark Side on November 25, 2008 at 1:42 am

    […] ahh the coolest quote about finance coming from JD GetRichSLowly my favorite site about finance :) Make me remember about Differentiating Between Needs and Wants […]

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