By Kim Gauthier

It’s easy to think of things we want as things we need. Everyone needs food, water, shelter, and clothing; those are basic needs. Some of the things we have such as a Smartphone, a laptop, an iPad, or Netflix are nice to have, but they aren’t needs.

Pretend you’re going to live on your own. You have $1,000 per month to pay for your needs and your wants. First, take care of the needs. Rent ($500), electricity ($50), food ($75), car payment ($200), and car insurance ($70). Plus, you want Netflix ($15), a Smartphone ($100 phone and service), clothes ($30), and Starbucks every morning ($5 x 30 = $150). If you do the math, all that comes to $1,190. Oops! What do you do?

Most people can’t have everything they want, that’s why it’s important to make choices. There are no right or wrong answers, everyone is different. What’s important to you? Maybe you use your Smartphone for two or three years and spend more money on clothes? Maybe you buy fewer clothes to have Netflix or to buy a laptop. Remember, take care of the “needs” first, and then decide which of the “wants” are most important to you.