Be frugal: balance your wants, needs


I t is unrealistic to try to live without any desires, because our desires fuel our creativity, which energises us and gives us fulfillment, thereby pushing us to reach our goals.
But the problem arises when our desires become our needs, which can suddenly put us into a state of desperation, leading to making irrational decisions.
The best time to start saving is while you’re still young and working, because there is still plenty of time to make mistakes and the luxury of time to fix them, along with some bad spending habits an individual might have developed over the years.
There is also more opportunities to consider tons of options involving money early on in life.
However, just as there are opportunities, so are there plenty of distractions that could make it difficult to save. Before you make any more brash decisions or mistakes, it is best to assess your spending habits, as there are different classes of wants and needs.
Wants can be described as the pretty, eye-catching, and more often than not, expensive things people like to buy every moment of every day, if they could. Most times, you don’t really need these things, but if you want to show off signs of your social status or enjoy the momentary convenience, they you go for them and these include: designer clothes, bags, shoes, luxury cars, latest gadgets, opting for taxi fares, eating out, shopping, etc.
These are things you usually want to buy once you see them. Although prioritising your wants may give you instant gratification, but that is about it. The fact remains that it drains a huge chunk of money out of your savings, all for a product or service that may not benefit you in the long term.
Whereas, needs on the other hand, describe items that are not as exciting or attractive to you and often items that are hard to save for. People often take needs for granted and these include: emergency fund, college tuition, retirement fund, credit card debt, among many others.

Don’t cut, but practice pruning, which is removing superfluous or unwanteD habits that make you spenD

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An economist, Mr Olufemi Timothy, noted that most times, people find it easier to make a list of their wants more than their needs, although the list may be short, but it does take a whole lot longer to save for. But being able to save or spend for these things will definitely make you worry-free, once they are taken care of.
How? It is simple. By deciding to convince yourself to want to balance your wants and needs, which involves drawing a line and sticking to it.
He said: “You can also make it a career, whereby you consider it an art you’ve to master. All you need to do is to start from the bottom, which might not be easy at first, but with total dedication, you’ll get there somehow.
“Try to redefine your success and happiness, having it in mind that being able to buy all your wants and suffering the consequences of those purchases is not what success is all about, because those material things will not ever make you happy, not for too long, at least.
“Endeavor to share the burden by getting your family in on it, or tell your acquaintances to help you out, in the sense that feeling accountable to other people might help you make better financial decisions, knowing they have their eyes on you.
“Don’t cut, but practice pruning, which is removing superfluous or unwanted habits that make you spend. Instead of making drastic changes in your habits, make little adjustments, such as walking some distance instead of taking the cab. You can also start buying in the market, instead of going to the grocery store, as we all know that supermarket prices are most sophisticated than the market prices.”
Mr Segun Owolabi, an accountant advised that when it comes to finding balance between one’s needs and wants, this is where one may need to find that compromise. To him, rather than insist on the brand new Mercedes, buy one that is two years old but in great condition. Or buy a loaded car, like the Hyundai Sonata at half the price. Choose the options that do not put a strain on your bank account or your emotional wellbeing. Use this philosophy in all aspects of your life, to bring everything into harmony.
It is better for people to learn to live below their means, he said, adding that all one needs to do is to start computing how much one spends monthly.
“You might be surprised that the numbers disgust or frighten you. You will be able to see how much you actually waste away on nothing, which will make you learn to say ‘no’ to unnecessary spending.
“Remember it is always better to use time to your advantage, because it has been observed that most people hate how long it takes to save money, due to the fact that they are used to giving in to their every whim most of the time. Instead, research on the best interest rates banks have to offer in a savings account and put your money there. This will surely benefit you in the long run.
“Like any new experience, saving money takes some getting used to. Once you get the hang of picking your needs over your wants, however, be rest assured that your future can only be safe, sound, and secured from thereon,” he said.