Saturday, August 30, 2008

Need vs. Want

It is really easy for me to push my wants aside in the best interests of my husband and kids.  If I want a new shirt or jewelry, I can easily say no to that temptation, especially when the budget is tight or when formula and diapers are on the grocery list (which both have been for about 3.5 years straight, over half our marriage!).  So, I don't buy the wants very often.  The needs, well of course I buy those!  But here's what I am constantly learning... the difference between a need and a want.

There have been many times where I have felt like I desperately-absolutely-definitely NEED something that I don't actually need at all.  I remember when my husband and I started to register for our wedding.  After a day with that registry gun, I was convinced that if we didn't get a wooden salad bowl with matching individual bowls, that I would have to go back to the store and buy them.  Obviously this was an important thing for every married person to have.  As you can see, I was confused.  (I did receive those bowls as a gift, and I love them.  But I didn't need them.)  

The same thing happened when we were registering at Babies-R-Us before our first was born.  Boy do they make you feel like you need to spend at least $1000  on gizmos and gadgets before the baby even comes out!  Again my needs and wants were confused.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night in a panic that we had registered for the wrong type of stroller!  Yikes, I was a mess.  

Thankfully I am done registering for gifts.  That task makes me feel like I don't have nearly enough stuff to survive in America.   But even without registering, I still feel that confusion sometimes.  A few weeks ago, I realized that we really needed a place to put our shoes when we come in the house from the back door.  This was truly a need, as our wood floor was being ruined.  But where I got confused was how to fill this need.  I started looking on Craigslist and at Ikea for cool shoe racks with a bench and baskets and all kinds of neat gizmos.  I looked and searched for weeks (yes, it takes me a long time to purchase something that costs more than $20) and finally realized that I was being silly.  I looked around the house, found this cute basket (that holds blankets in the winter but was empty for the summer), put it by the back door!!  It works perfect and it was free. 

Deciphering between our needs and wants can help us to find a lot of contentment.  When I think that I need something, I really have to step back and figure out WHY I feel like I need it.  God provides for our needs, and sometime we just have to look at things a little differently to see just how He is providing.   


Jennifer said...

great post. i am the the same way about spending money over $20. it is fun to buy new things, but it is more fulfilling and wise to use what we already have when possible.

this is a great blog. :)

Jenne said...

What a great reminder. Too many times I get this enormous concern that if THAT THING is not found and purchased, life might not go on as planned. Organizational purchases tend to be where I spend a lot of think-time. They seem to legitimate. And I do have a handful of items that really have made my life easier. But mostly, they do not work out quite as I had hoped and I am back to square one, obsessing about how I will contain the growing piles of whatever. The truth is that with each additional child and each new stage, new forms of organization are needed, but more often than I care to admit, the organizational tool I need is already in the house somewhere just waiting to be repurposed.

Jessie said...

Needs vs. wants... A huge issue when you have a strict budget! Thank you for this post. I appreciate the reminder that God provides for our true needs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement toward creativity. The sense of satisfaction in "making do" is often more fun than retail therapy! Plus, you don't have to waste gas driving somewhere to pick it up.