Wants vs. needs

6. Make choices by distinguishing between wants and needs. Choose what is enough, rather than what is possible to get. Replace appetites with values, teach your children the same and model those values for all who are in your life. (Wallis, 2014)

As a result of gutting out houses following Hurricane Katrina, I learned that less is actually more. The first home that I worked in, I spent the better part of a day gutting out a 3 ft x 4 ft x 8 ft closet that was filled with magazines, that had been soaked in brackish water for 8 weeks. A closet full of magazines. I vowed that never would anyone have to do that for me, and I was a pack rat. I sought to reduce by possessions to about 100 things, with only 10 categories of things with more than one item (books, clothing, shoes, etc). And in those areas I set very strict limits, if something new comes into the house, something of equal or greater value must go out. So if you buy a new pair of slacks, an old pair has to go out. I try not to buy books that I can get from the library or house electronically. I have gone from 8 running feet of books, to one bookshelf. For large purchases, I make a decisions about what I absolutely need and then wait at least 30 days. If I still need it at the end of that time I purchase the item, if not I let it slide.
To make it more practicable I don’t purchase materials on credit. Anything purchase on a credit card has to be paid off in 30 days, with no balance to be carried. This stops impulse purchasing dead in its tracks. I have found that I don’t always need the most current thing, when the one I have is bought and paid for.
I plan to continue this practice. Are you ready to try living on what you need?


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