A need is a state of being, which can be an emotional or physical experience. It can also be something that is required for survival, which are often called basic needs and include things such as food, water and shelter. A need can also be seen as an intangible thing, such as self-esteem or a sense of security, which are sometimes described as psychological needs.
The term need can be used as a verb, an adjective or a noun. It is most commonly used as a verb, with forms like need, need to and needing. The auxiliary verbs can and may are frequently associated with the use of need. It can also be used as a noun, with examples such as needing a job and needing help.
People tend to spend most of their time and resources attempting to satisfy the basic physiological or lower order needs, such as food, water and shelter, before focusing on higher level psychological or higher order needs such as belonging, esteem and self-actualization. This is why it is important to be able to distinguish between the differences between needs and wants, in order to make more informed decisions regarding spending.
Needs are usually categorized into two groups, the objective or physical ones and the subjective or emotional ones. The latter include feelings such as a need for self-esteem and a need to be accepted. The former are more tangible and measurable, such as air, food, water and shelter. The failure to meet any of these needs can lead to the onset of disease, inability to function in society or even death.
In economics, the concept of need is closely linked to that of demand. When it comes to demand, there are different levels of judgments as to what is a need, which are then translated into economic demands. Generally, the higher the need, the more it is considered a demand and thus a possible subject of political or economical pressures.
For example, the need to eat is a clear need, but the need for a new pair of jeans might be considered less of a need. This is because the need to eat is universally agreed upon and can be measured, whereas the desire for a new pair of jeans might vary between individuals.
When planning a budget, it is important to distinguish between needs and wants, so that you can make more informed spending decisions. One way to do this is by making a list of all expenses and determining which are needs and which are wants. You can then decide how much of each expense is actually necessary. This can be particularly useful if you are trying to save money, as it is often easier to reduce the amount spent on something that might not be as essential as you originally thought, than to reduce the expenditure on a more necessary item. For example, you might find that you still need to purchase food, but that eight pairs of designer jeans are not actually necessary.