What do you really need? Understanding this can make you rich.

Below is an excellent article I wrote over on insidestl.com for today’s column that can help make you rich. I’ve been too busy to write anything additional for today, so I wanted to share this with you. I promise to add more than this to FinanceDad this week, hopefully today at lunch I can complete the other article I’m working on and have it published early this afternoon. My goal is to write Tuesday and Friday over on insidestl.com, and Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday here on FinanceDad. Remember, you can sign up to have my articles delivered right to your inbox, so you don’t have to check the site constantly for updates. The free subscription service will email you once a day (in the evening and only if there are new articles), a highlight of all articles written for that day, if they interest you, you click the link for the article you want to read and it will bring you to the article on my site. You can unsubscribe without hassle anytime, and don’t worry, I won’t spam you.

How do marketing folks continually get us to buy crap that we don’t need? What do you buy that you don’t need or care about and why? What are our true basic needs? How will understanding all of this make you rich? After reading this article you will instantly have a better grasp in identifying your own spending habits and what makes you buy crap you don’t need, so you can take control of your spending and money, and start being able to buy things you do want, like a big house with a pool and hot tub, and a vacation to San Francisco or Florence, Italy.

Why is it that most people consistently walk in to stores with buying one thing in mind, and come out with a handful of things they didn’t intend on buying, and still they didn’t get what they originally went for? In short, because we can easily change what we want to what we need to emotionally satisfy ourselves. Suddenly, something else we see and want becomes a need and we must have it.

What’s the last thing you bought that you hadn’t originally planned on buying when you went to the store? The last time I went to the store, I went grocery shopping. I had no budget in mind before shopping, and no true list of what I needed to buy. I knew we needed milk and bread and items for dinner for the following week or two. But what did I end up buying? I spent about $160 and ended up getting a few meals and a bunch of other stuff. Let’s focus in on that other stuff for now. I bought Gatorade because my daughter pulled it off the shelf and she wanted it and one for my son too, because she had one. I noticed my son was influencing my daughter to pick things up and throw them in the cart (so he wouldn’t get in trouble I suppose). Other items I bought that weren’t truly needed included chips, pretzels, alcohol, energy drinks, and a slew of other miniscule items that weren’t truly needed, until I justified them in my head.

What did I truly need to buy? I needed to buy Milk and bread and dinner items for the next week, which would have totaled no more than $100. What did I buy?  An additional $60 in items that I later determined “I needed to buy” based upon my desires and wants.

In buying the additional items I justified each and every purchase based upon perceived pleasures that changed my wants into needs. My family loves the pretzels and chips for snacks, we need them. My wife and I love to have an occasional Red Bull and Vodka, it makes sense to grab some now to have on hand when we want it. My kids will act out if they don’t get the Gatorade, I need it now or me and every other customer in the store will pay the price.

Marketing folks make you think you need stuff by making you believe that it will make you happy. Instead of taking that $60 I would have spent on crap that I really didn’t need until I got to the store and justified it in my head, I could have put that money towards a weekend vacation for the family. In less than three grocery trips to the store I could have saved enough money to get a hotel in Branson for the weekend with an indoor swim park the kids would have had a blast with. Stupid me, I caved in for 2 minutes of satisfaction that could have been hours of fun in a month. How incredibly short sighted and stupid of me. The next time I go to the store I’m going to think about this stuff before I buy crap that I want that I make myself believe I need. We need food, shelter and love, that’s all we truly need. Everything else we justify into needing, when in reality we’re only looking at the now, in spite of screwing ourselves over for getting what we really want.

This is the beginning of understanding yourself. Reflect back on the last time you went shopping. What did you suddenly want that you decided you needed? How do you think understanding this can have a profound impact on your future purchases? Do you want or “need” to take more vacations or have a bigger house with a pool and a hot tub than you want or need that other crap that you buy when you go shopping? If so, it’s time you start deciding what’s really important to you, crap or vacations and a bigger home. Before you go shopping make a list of what you truly need and stick to it, when you see other crap, decide if you want that or a bigger house and a vacation. Take the money you would have spent and throw it into a bucket (or a separate bank account). I bet at the end of the day you will feel much more happy that you really are getting what you truly want and desire. Maybe you could care less about having a bigger house or more vacations, then decide what you really want or “need” and make that your object for comparison.

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1 Comment

  1. When giving up is not an option….

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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