Prioritizing Needs and Wants

Needs vs WantsThe concept of controlling impulses and regulating “wants” is paramount for The Wellness Wife concept of holistically healthy living. I simplified the concept in my post Save Money – Don’t Buy Stuff. But, today I want to expand on how the concept of curbing the “wants” impacts every aspect of your life.

I felt compelled to revisit this concept due to the current Change the World Wednesday challenge on one of my favorite blogs – Reduce Footprints. This week’s challenge is “Need Versus Want.” Follow the link to find out the specifics of the challenge and I hope you’ll consider taking the challenge with us! Consider taking the challenge for the rest of the month!

Why is prioritizing needs versus wants so important to The Wellness Wife?

Physical

How many people say “I can’t afford organic produce” but then fill their grocery cart with unnecessary impulse buys like holiday-themed cupcakes? Your physical wellbeing is more important than any “want.”

Organic produce provides us with the necessary vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. Pesticides have been linked to cancer, infertility, Alzheimer’s Disease, birth defects, Parkinson’s Disease, asthma, diabetes, and more. View a more detailed list at the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database.

Sugary and starchy junk foods are not a “need.” Yes, they are food. But, you won’t die without them. On the contrary, you may die with them. Refined sugars and trans fats are linked to most of today’s major health concerns.

Financial

This is easy. If you reduce your “wants,” your financial situation will improve. If you are struggling financially, make a list of needs and wants. How many of those wants can you eliminate? How many of the things you consider “needs” are actually “needs.” I always joke that The Wellness Husband would leave me if I cut off the cable, but if we ever couldn’t pay our bills, he would be the first one to say we should get rid of the cable.

Even if you aren’t struggling financially, a need/want assessment will benefit you. Could you stay home with your children if you cut out some wants? Could you save more for college or retirement if you eliminated excess?

Environmental

I have blogged on this many times. You may be tired of hearing it from me. Too bad! If people stopped buying things they didn’t need, there would be less use of natural resources, less toxins in our environment from factories and transportation, less waste, and less junk in landfills.

Spiritual

For Christians, Jesus made it pretty clear how he feels about excess in his Sermon on the Mount.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6: 19-21, NIV

This command was given right along with the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer. So, I think it’s probably pretty important.

I could go on for days about this. But, I’ll spare you. My hope is that you will reflect on these four concepts of “need versus want” and join the Reduce Footprints readers and The Wellness Wife in changing the world and changing our lives through minimizing “wants.”

You will find that the less you focus on what you want, the happier you will be with what you have.

6 thoughts on “Prioritizing Needs and Wants

  1. Clare (EcoFriendlyLink.com)

    You touched a pet peeve of mine – people who say they “can’t afford” organic produce, but as you say, fill their trolley’s with junk. Grrr.
    Now if we could just convince the rest of the world to think the same way……
    Thanks for this article!

    1. Lisa Post author

      You’re welcome! It’s like fingernails on a blackboard when I hear people say they can’t afford to eat healthy. Is there anything cheaper than a bag of dry black beans? Thanks for stopping by!

  2. smallftprints

    Wow, excellent post! I especially like your first reason because it shows how buying unnecessary stuff keeps us from buying important stuff. It makes me realize that the costs of impulse buying are more than just natural resources … they can also include our health.

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