When it comes to planning your spending every month, it is really important to be willing to look at, and talk about, your needs and wants. Meeting our needs is essential for a healthy relationship with money. In my last Money Relationship Intensive Workshop, I spend some time on this subject with the participants. I am going to help you with this right now and it can be fairly simple, especially if you are not clear about what you need vs. what you want.
So many people spend a lot on their wants and neglect their needs. And some neglect both sides, by assuming that it’s not possible to get their needs OR their wants met.
When we spend money on our wants before our needs, it is like we are painting a room with our favorite colour without fixing the marks and dents in the wall first. Here are some other examples:
* We’ll buy new garden or patio furniture instead of fixing the porch that is disintegrating.
* We spend money on designer clothes and do not go to the dentist for regular cleanings.
* We spend money on knick knacks for the living room, but neglect putting money away into a savings account.
Did you notice the word “neglect?” What are you neglecting? What are you ignoring that makes you feel depleted or deprived? Deprivation is the opposite of fulfillment, and I want you to feel fulfilled. And when you meet your true needs first, you feel fulfilled, but you have to know what your needs are, in order to be able to meet them.
Here is a little exercise for you. Grab a piece of paper and down the very middle of it, start creating a list of needs and wants. Just start writing. Don’t worry if it’s a need or a want. Just write them all done.
To help you brainstorm, think about these four areas: stuff, services, experiences and feelings.
Stuff—what stuff do I need or want? Boots, a new couch, a better computer, more jewelry, a nicer dining room table, a house?
Services—what services do I need or want? I want monthly professional hair coloring, monthly house cleaning, dental work, or replace the cracked windshield on my car.
Experiences—what experiences do I need or want? I want more travel. I want to do more hiking. I’d like to go to concerts and plays.
Feelings– What feelings do I need or want to have? I want to feel more secure (that might mean more savings), I want to feel more confident (as an example lose weight and buy a special outfit)
And finally answer this question: What am I tired of putting up with? I’m tired of that broken kitchen cabinet.
Now simply sit with your list and start moving the items to the left or right. Label the left NEED and label the right WANT. For each item, simply ask yourself, “Do I need this or do I want this?” Is this necessary or would this be nice? Will I feel more fulfilled and happy with this?
Too many people have delayed looking after their needs and have gone without for a long time. Some have even given up hope that they’ll never be able to have their needs met at all. Once you are no longer living in survival mode driven by unmet needs and scarcity, you can start to examine with new eyes how you are spending your time, energy and money.
What are your deepest desires? They are more than wants, desires are longings for those things and experiences that enrich your life and feed your soul.
When you create a healthy relationship with money it’s just not external – it’s internal and empowers a deep transformation.
So… What do want? ;)