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Financial Literacy Month blog

We hope you enjoy reading some of our thoughts as we join you on the path to financial wellness and we encourage you to yours. If you would like to follow our path on a more micro-level, we will be using twitter to chronicle our days.

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I really need a Dyson

Posted by Kim McGrigg on 4/10/2008

Today’s step is about putting things in perspective. Categorizing things as “needs” or “wants” can help determine what is really important in life.

“Needs” are defined as necessities, things you cannot do without or are required by law. “Wants” are things that are nice to have, but are not necessities of life.

From these definitions, it seems clear that things like digital cameras and vacations should be categorized as wants, not needs. But what if your mental health is at risk if you don’t take a vacation now and then? Is there a point where a vacation can become a need?

I am going down this path for a reason; I need an expensive vacuum cleaner. My old vacuum cleaner weighs a ton and it is louder than a jet. I have two very hairy dogs, so I vacuum every single day of my life. My current vacuum puts me in a bad mood. Several of my friends have Dysons and they talk about them like they’re family members.

Not convinced? Maybe things aren’t so black and white; I need more categories! In her blog titled What you need vs. what you want and how to tell the difference, Sarah Winfrey has a category called “slightly less necessary needs.” Jumping on that bandwagon, my expanded set of categories includes:

Need to live
Slightly less necessary needs
Things I need, but don’t really want
Wants that I want so badly that I call them needs
Wants that I just want

So, I am putting the expensive vacuum cleaner down as a ‘want that I want so badly that I call them needs’ (as you might have guessed, items in this category rank high on my priority list.)

Am I justified or did I just take the first step down a very slippery slope?
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