Needs vs. Wants


In these challenging economic times, it’s important to save every penny you can. It’s also imperative to teach your children the importance of what is necessary and what is not. As our children were growing up, they would often say to us, “I want that…”  We then would ask them, “Is that something you need or something you want.”  Of course, they almost always said that it was an item they absolutely needed!  We then had to explain to them the difference between needs and wants.

Needs are items or services that you must have in order to live.  Wants are items or services that you would like to have, but can live without if necessary. If it was a need, then we paid for the purchase.  If it was a want, they would have to pay for it out of their allowance.  Many times, when they knew they had to pay for it, they realized it wasn’t that important and they decided not to get it.

Now, this was just a guideline for us.  There were many times that we paid for things that they did not need, but just wanted. To help you figure it out for yourself, I’d encourage you to check out this great hands-on resource on needs vs. wants at

What are some ways you have taught this important lesson to your kids?

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