Monday, June 2, 2008

Wants vs Needs

The topic of "Wants vs Needs" came up yesterday in a conversation with my 6 year old son. I told him that we will always give him everything he needs, but he may not get everything he wants. What he wanted, and was trying to get across to us through his unhappy frustration, was more money to play video games in the restaurant.

Today, I read Journeyer's post on Wants vs Needs. I could feel her words on her past decisions as if I'd wrote them myself.

In my home, we have been working on the "Wants vs Needs" realization for the past few months. Like others, my husband's layoff (and decision to go into business for himself) last November reduced us to a single-income family. As we had always had enough for the extra wants, it is difficult for us to be at the point of saying "I'm sorry, we can't" to financial requests from our children. And, that has included having to say "I'm sorry, we can't" to the requests from our inner child too.

I am very proud of our efforts to tame our wants quite a lot. I'm just getting used to this being our new "norm". I won't lie and say that when the finances improve we will continue with this frugality, though I do believe it has reinforced the idea of "Wants vs Needs" for our family.

It has also had a huge impact on my decluttering. Rather than buying my way through a rough day, I've had to look for other sources of relief that we could actually afford. I have turned to journal writing for the times when I want to feel introspective and have rediscovered the stress relief of using my body (cleaning with fury, doing exercise, etc.) for times when I don't want to be still.

This has had a two-fold effect. I don't buy clutter that I will later have to deal with and have used my "free time" to look inward...both at myself and my home. Doing so is what prompted me to commit myself to decluttering one item each day for 365 days.

It has also allowed me to go shopping in my own home. We are on the tail-end of a major remodel and, as we lost space, stuff from one room was shoved into closets of another. While looking through my home for my "declutter item of the day", I have rediscovered these lost treasures. I admit, I've also found some of my impulse buys from my stress shopping.

Thankfully, I know that guilt over the lost money and such isn't worth it. I pass them on and know that both the physical and mental clutter they were in my life is now gone.

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network


  1. I can totally relate to the inner child! Mine often starts stamping her feet saying "I want..."!

    We went "shopping at home" over the weekend. It's amazing what you can find with the right mindset. Your decluttering challenge sounds like a wonderful idea. I think I will give it a try.

    Thanks for the link :-)

  2. Journeyer: You're welcome. Thank you for the inspiring blog post. :-)

    My inner child will say "I deserve..." That is very hard to resist, I'll tell ya!

    Shopping at home is actually a terrific decluttering trick, I've found. If I don't use it, love it, want it or need it (the real kind--not the guilt-causing one), then why would I want to keep that clutter? Rediscovering things that make me feel happy, and ridding myself of the things that don't, has made such a difference in my life.

    I hope you do take your own challenge! The 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge is FOR YOU and you are only accountable TO YOU. Getting 365 unloved, unneeded, unused things out of your house sounds exciting, right? I know it did to me; that's why I started my challenge.

    Every day that we stay true to our challenges is worth celebrating!

    If you do take your own decluttering challenge and make mention of it on your blog, I'd love to add it to the other 365 Challenger blogs! Just let me know...

  3. Fantastic post! Keeping up the Challenge has really helped me curb the wants spending--I find neglected wants all around the house that have magically transformed into clutter over time. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  4. SAHMmy says: Thanks for the feedback. You've hit the nail on the head. We are working hard to declutter, and that in turn makes us much more choosey on what we are bringing in! You're welcome; I enjoy your blog.


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