Understanding the Difference Between Needs and Wants


A need is something required for survival, well-being or personal fulfillment. The term is based on the theory of human needs proposed by Abraham Maslow, who presumed a universal set of independent motives related to physiology, safety, affection, self-esteem and self-actualization. It also presupposed that a person’s needs will vary over time and circumstances. The need for food, water and shelter are considered basic needs. The need for contact comfort, a desire to express emotions and feelings and the desire to achieve one’s full potential are considered higher level needs.

A common mistake people make is using the words ‘need’ and ‘want’ interchangeably. While some items can fit into both categories, it is important to separate them when budgeting. This helps keep spending under control.

To determine whether an item is a need or a want, ask yourself if it’s something you would be able to live without. If you can’t answer that question, it’s a need. For example, a new car might be a need for a family with children in school and a commute, but it may become a want once the kids are grown and no longer require the car for transportation.

When writing a monthly budget, it’s essential to know the difference between needs and wants. Assigning dollar amounts to each category can help you stay within your spending limits. It’s also helpful to separate these two categories when planning for future expenses.

The most basic need is to survive. Food, water and shelter are the most basic necessities. Once these have been met, individuals are free to pursue a variety of other interests and goals.

Another need is a sense of belonging and love. This can be achieved through a number of ways, including marriage, friendship and other close relationships. This need is also satisfied by community involvement and activism.

Finally, the need for success can be fulfilled through education, career achievement and financial wealth. These are all areas that can be nurtured and developed through hard work and dedication.

In the context of philanthropy, it is also essential to understand the difference between needs and wants. This is especially important when fundraising for charities or other organizations that provide basic services to those in need. To maximize fundraising efforts, it’s important to clearly distinguish between the need for money and the desire for a better quality of life. When it comes to the latter, the most effective approach is to focus on the long-term effects of increased income and economic security. This will allow donors to donate money knowing it will have a positive impact on the lives of others. This type of charitable giving is what we call ‘gifts with a purpose’. This is what makes it such a rewarding experience for donors and recipients alike. We hope that you find this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your support.