Five Minute Friday – Needs versus Wants

I am back this week to join the Five Minute Friday writing community!  Five minutes seems to be about as much time as I can find to write here.  Sigh…This week’s prompt is “need”.  Here we go:

The first thing that pops to mind when I hear the word need is my daughter’s study a couple of years ago in elementary school of needs versus wants.  I thought that was a tough concept to figure out since the adults I know have not mastered that concept very well at all (including myself in that remark).  But, talking with her made me realize just how out of whack my needs versus wants are most of the time.

As humans, we really don’t have all that many needs.  I think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

We need food and water, safety, social interactions, self-esteem, and self-understanding.  None of that stems from having the right clothes or the right car or the bigger house.  It all stems from having what you need and only what you need.  But, we are seekers of so much more.

This morning is a perfect example.  I am traveling for work and brought a sweater that I knew made me too hot to be comfortable unless I am outside in extreme cold.  I am not working outside in extreme cold.  So, I decided I would go to Target and purchase another sweater that met my temperature “needs” better.  I could try to use “physiological” need to justify this purchase, but I could have worn the warmer sweater.  Sure, I would have been a little hot, but I would have survived just fine.  I also had another lighter, sweater I could have worn instead, but I felt that I “needed” an additional sweater for my Winter wardrobe anyways, so I went to Target.  I immediately spotted a turtleneck I loved.  But, instead of buying it and getting the heck out of there, I wandered around the women’s clothing area browsing every possible sweater or sweatshirt so I would not “miss out” on something “better”.  During this time, I found another Christmas shirt that I liked and picked it up (it has the Grinch on it and says, “Don’t be a Grinch”).  I finally returned to the original sweater and bought not only that one but the one next to it as well.  Because they had a deal where you got a $10 gift card when spending $40 and I “needed” the third item to push my total up to the $40.


Yes, that is what I did this morning.  I went to Target for a sweater I didn’t really need in the first place and walked out with two sweaters and a shirt and I almost bought a new purse because it was on clearance.  I am NOT focused on NEEDS.  I am definitely acting on WANTS.

I’m going over my 5-minute mark, but I feel like I really would like to change this perspective and stop giving in to my wants.  I am constantly complaining about having too many things.  I am constantly struggling to keep my spending under control.  And yet, here I am, walking out of Target with two sweaters and a shirt, none of which I needed at all.

So, from here on out, I’m going to call this November Needs Only month.  NNO!  Whenever I think of getting something that is just a frivolous want or something that will cause me more pain than benefit.  Something that doesn’t contribute to those things in the pyramid above, I’m going to try to say NNO!  It seems like a good month to do it.  This should be a month of gratitude and appreciating what we have.

How about you?  Have you embraced that First Grade lesson of needs being more important than wants?


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  1. Oh, and this is so humbling when I am trying to teach our children the difference between needs and wants, and I forget the difference myself far too frequently. Thank you for this reminder. Your Five Minute Friday neighbor.

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