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  • Writer's pictureMarc Primo

Wants Versus Needs and How You Should Weigh Them

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

This is an article “Wants Versus Needs and How You Should Weigh Them” by Marc Primo

As we all take a nosedive into a looming global recession, people are keeping a closer eye on their spending. Many are now learning the differences between wants and needs, quality over signature brands, and essentials over luxuries. Of course, there’s always that innate trait within us for reward whenever we feel we deserve it. The question is: is it really worth it?

Right now, when the global economy is projected to suffer between $5.8 trillion to $8.8 trillion in losses due to the pandemic, consumers are feeling the backlash despite governments’ efforts to ease on monetary and fiscal payments on rent, lease, and other utilities. At scale, people are resorting to purchasing their essentials online where they can get the best bargain and read reviews to make sure they get what they need at more attractive prices.

What everyone is figuring out these days is which items we should really spend money on. If you’re not used to being frugal prior to the pandemic, here’s a guide to get you started on smarter money management.

Draw a line between ‘satisfactory’ and ‘best’

When buying products in brick and mortar stores or online, ask yourself if they offer value for your money. Satisfactory items can be summed up as those items with the ‘Best Buy’ label as reviewed by Consumer Reports. Take note though that these products are not considered as ‘best in class’ as those top-ranked items are marked as ‘Recommended’. What you’d want to do before buying an item is consider the pros and cons of a few selected brands that all belong to both the ‘Best Buy’ and ‘Recommended’ categories then choose which one suits your needs the best.

How is your purchasing power?

Sometimes, the greatest factor in determining what to buy is how financially stable you are at the moment. It’s never recommended to go into debt via credit card just to buy something you want when you can settle for something lesser-- not in quality but in cost. If you think purchasing a top-ranked item can put you in dire financial straits, then limit your selection to ‘Best Buy’ brands instead. Try to eliminate what’s ‘cool’ for now and get what you need at the best price possible. Sometimes, opting not to go with ‘Recommended’ brands can spare you from high-interest debt, plus it gives you more product options to choose from.

Consider the consequences of your purchases

One purchase can lead to monetary problems just like that. They may not be huge money mistakes right now but they can still leave a scar on your wallet sooner or later. If you don’t study your options first before buying an item, you might pay for a greater cost than you’d really want to because of all the hidden charges and monthly interest rates.

For example, buying the latest gaming console or smartphone just to keep up with trends is not a good idea if you are not financially sound. Paying in installments incur interests that add up per month and appreciates the actual amount of the item. Keeping tab of your payments also adds to your financial obligations and missing just one can result in penalties which will take more money out of your bank account, not to mention all the stress and pressure it adds. You’d also probably want to wait awhile as some new products depreciate their price over time depending on fluctuating supply and demand figures.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your credit cards for emergencies and essentials. The tip here, should you choose to buy an item via that magic stripe of yours, is to simply review how your purchases can help you for the long-term before closing the sale, and if you can rely on them to withstand time so you won’t have to buy for replacements too quickly.

Money is definitely tight for most people right now and thinking twice or even thrice before you buy something has become automatic. With businesses closing down and unemployment on the rise everywhere, keeping ourselves financially stable is a challenge we all have to face in the meantime. Making the right purchasing decisions can ensure that we can sustain what we need during these challenging times, soon rebound, and hopefully have that little extra so we could buy those wants we deserve.


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