Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shop-Free for Three: Want Vs. Need

Here's a two week update on the Shop-Free for Three with Mr. Thomas and me

First. I haven't bought ANYTHING, but groceries, in the last two weeks. And, while I was grocery shopping IN SUPERTARGET, I stuck to my list. Gold medal for me! 
Even two weeks got Macaulay Culkin excited. You see the power of changing up the game? 

Mostly, all's well. Going cold turkey might have been the best thing I ever did do for myself. Though, I did get super Bitter Betty last weekend and was mad about everything that requires money. 

The last two weeks have been lots of thinking time (especially since I'm not spending it online shopping or cruising the aisles at Target) about what it means to want something versus the actual needing of it. And, I'm still a bit confused about what it all means in the context of my life (because I know I don't need an iPhone or car, but I've got them). 

That said, I came up with a mnemonic. Because those word games always fascinated me and who doesn't love some catchy words to remind you of your priorities. 
Let's talk want. 
We know want. The problem is: we blur want until it becomes need. So tricky we are. Three simple questions will get your deciphering between the two back on track.

Was it advertised? Do you want it NOW? Is it because Pinterest or People or InStyle say you should have it this fall? Most of my purchases are big YES answers. Guess what, if it's a purchase of the whim, ad, trend type, it's needless. That derails my shopping cart right freakin' there.

How about need? 
You've got to eat. Got to have shelter. Got to dress yourself. Thus, nourishment and essential are NEEDS. (But, is that Snickers bar or package of Oreos? Or that lunch trip to Panera? Or drinks at the bar? Probably, no, not needs)

Ensure. This has to do with maintaining the things you have. Sure, your car doesn't need an oil change because you could do it yourself. But really? Or your camera charger that you forgot in the hotel in Bishop when you were rushing out the door after oversleeping? Yeah, go ahead and replace that. It's cheaper than a new camera.

Doctrinal's got to do with your faith. With your sanity. I'm not saying go over the top here, but are you in a bible study and everyone's reading a book? Treat yourself. Did you lose your bible after church? Replace that puppy. Is tithing important to your sacrificial heart? Then, tithe. The last thing you need in this time of material fast is to feel that your faith is being stifled, because God help me while I stop by Target to pick up eggs and bacon.

What are some of your want versus need tricks to keep the two straight and not-so-blurry? 

Also, we've got a little Facebook group going on for those of you who are fasting too. Please feel free to join in the conversations and ideas we've got brewing over there. 


  1. oh i love the word play! so good. i've been on a shopping fast for so long that i'm pretty sure i've broken myself of the habit completely....the idea of shopping sounds fun now, but not something i'm in a rush to go back to, and only to update the really old items.
    one trick is to imagine that i have no disposable income at all...would i still buy that thing? if i wouldn't spend my minimal resources on it, it's not a need.

  2. I saw this post on my phone, but I've been waiting until I got back to an actual computer to reply! I love that you're breaking down want v. need and I love the word play as well! I think so many of us know there's a blurred line between want and need, but we never really think to sit down and actually try to un-blur that line.

    Me being able to differentiate between want and need was, and is, a process. It took me some time to identify all my wants and all my needs, and while I'm still not all-the-way there, I'm pretty content with the success I've had so far.

    Basically my method is this: Outside of my immediate physical needs, If it doesn't benefit my future, if it doesn't benefit my family, or if it doesn't benefit the world than it's a want.

    I just keep that in mind, and it helps me un-blur things :) If that makes sense, lol? It makes sense in my head but when I write it out and read it back it sounds weird haha.

  3. Love the way you break it down. It's so easy to start seeing wants as needs, but no Margaret, you do not NEED another pair of leggings and boots.

    Honestly- the way I tell the difference- if I'm comfortable putting it on our joint account, it's a need. If I think I should put it on my personal account, it's a want and I don't need to buy it!!

  4. I LOVE your method. Thinking about the way in which something will benefit more than just me in the very immediate moment will TOTALLY help me to be more thoughtful in my purchases... Especially on days when I JUST WANT IT NOW takes over! :)

    You're a wise one Zauni.

  5. I have a want for leggings that is nearly unquenchable... Until I remember that Mr. T is holding me accountable and I'm not ready to go home and get in trouble over a pair of stretchy pants!

    Thankfully for me we only have joint accounts so I HAVE to be okay with him seeing what I'm spending... It does make me a little bit annoyed some days because I just want to buy with reckless abandon, then I realize that's all the more reason for me to NOT do so!

  6. Word play is my jam. MY JAM.

    I haven't missed shopping yet. YET. That's a little word with big meanings. But, that's been surprisingly exciting for me. And, I'm just learning to do different things with the people I'd usually spend time shopping with. It's a challenge instead of a burden. (Though, I don't imagine I'll always feel that way!)


    Until I decided to share publicly I really struggled with self control. Now that LOTS of people know I find myself knowing they are going to hold me accountable and that helps keep me on the right track! :)

  8. I claim ALL wisdom I have from my mother, lol. It's basically just her words from my mouth, she's a great woman :)

    Also another thing she always tells me that has helped too, is that - outside of religion and physical needs, there is very little that is more important than your mental health.

    So if there's something that isn't necessarily a 'need' but that will help me not be so crazy, not be so stressed, not be so overwhelmed that I'm two blinks away from a mental breakdown - it doesn't matter if it's a want or need, do it.

    She always says it's important to keep your sanity. And in a family full of crazy people, I totally agree with her haha :)

  9. I love your mnemonic, what a great list of things to ask yourself when you're considering buying something. I am always trying to justify myself buying things I want by persuading myself I need them. My boyfriend always sees through it haha.


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