As we stare down the hateful eyes of this recession, we think about those things that we can cut back on and those things that we can entirely do without.
Yet, times have changed, and it makes one wonder if our wants have actually become needs over the years – and if those items we say we ‘need’ are really necessities.
I recently read through The Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life & Wealth by Richard Paul Evans and in it he states these statistic:
- In 1950 homes averaged 1,100 square feet
- In 1970 homes averaged 1,400 square feet
- In 2000 homes averaged 2,000 square feet
So in just 50 years homes doubled in size almost, and yet family sizes shrank!
Why the change? What has made us think that we have to have the largest home we can possibly afford, rather than buying a smaller home, doubling up the kids in a room and saving some money?
When did a big home become a necessity?
Pew Research Center ran a study on their site along these lines as well. Today more people believe things like microwaves and clothes dryers are necessities than they did back in 1996. Ten years ago only 62% of people felt a clothes dryer was a necessity; now more than 80% do.
Is it that we make more and want more?
Is it that we have become used to certain items (microwaves, clothes dryers) and so we can’t imagine life without them?
Or could it be that now with more working women who have limited time, certain tools – a microwave to help heat up dinner, a clothes dryer to speed up laundry day – are needed in order to prioritize time and tasks?
Younger people believe that technology is a necessity over a luxury, while the older crowd (hint, me!) believe that a home applience is needed for everyday life.
Income plays a part in this as well. The more that someone makes, the more the chance she will view a good or gadget as a necessity rather than a luxury!
So taking a look around at your home, what is a real need and what is a real want? What about the items on your shopping list? What can you live without, and what is it that you must have?
For me, a car is a necessity. I could do without the microwave for most of the time, but the clothes dryer I can’t imagine life without. While I would love to hang clothes out on the line simply to save electricity, we don’t have the place for it and, honestly, I don’t know how I’d squeeze in the time – as much as I’d like to.
The cell phone I could live without, considering I rarely keep mine charged, but the computer? Definitely needed, especially since my career focuses on being online.
In saving money I believe we have to start considering what are needs and what are wants. If you are unsure, ask yourself a few questions:
- Is there another way to do this (ie: use the home phone instead of a cell phone )
- What would life look like without this item? Envision it. How would you work without it.
- Is there a way to go about this more cheaply? (IE: You need a cell for car safety purposes; can you get one with prepaid minutes that is much cheaper each month?)
Prior to making the purchase: