Watch CBS News

How 'Wants' Will Sabotage Your Budget

This article is provided and sponsored by:
ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions

We all want things, whether it's the latest technology gadget, items for our homes, or some other luxury. And while this is perfectly normal, many of us can have trouble distinguishing between our "wants" and our "needs." This oversight can affect our relationships, career success, financial stability, and even our finances.

"Needs" are those items we cannot live without – food, shelter, clothing, utilities, insurance and other necessities.

"Wants" are things we would like to have (electronics, jewelry, toys, cell phones, movies, cosmetics, computers, cars, furniture, etc.), but could definitely live without. At the very least, we could certainly wait until our budget was in better shape.

To avoid falling into the "I gotta have it" trap, take some time to think while you shop. Ask yourself, am I deciding to purchase this product because:

  • I saw an enticing advertisement.
  • I need to boost my spirits.
  • I am angry with someone or something.
  • I am trying to impress someone or change his or her feelings towards me.
  • I want to "be the first" in my family, neighborhood or office, to own this.
  • My spouse, child or other significant person will be disappointed if I don't.
  • My relative, friend, co-worker or other influential person has one.
  • I love the "brand name."
  • I want to replace something that is still in good working order.
  • I want to take advantage of a sale, not because I need the item.

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you are probably getting ready to purchase a "want." You are veering toward making an unnecessary, emotional purchase.

If that is the case, and you still plan to carry out the purchase, consider these questions:

  • Can I afford this purchase right now?
  • How am I going to pay for this purchase? If I have to charge it or take out a loan, will I be able to afford the monthly payment?
  • Is this the right time to buy it (i.e., should I wait until the sale price fits within my budget)?
  • Is there a less expensive version or can I buy it used?
  • Can I get this cheaper at another retailer?
  • How many hours of work would it take me to pay for this item?

We all buy on impulse now and then. It is only human. The important thing is to keep those impulses in check when your financial situation is less than ideal. If you don't, you could end up depleting your bank account or assuming too much debt.

If you're finding it difficult to curb or control your "wants," or would like other help with your financial situation, Contact ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. For starters, check out this free budget calculator to help plan your monthly costs and save up for your "wants."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.