Why do people so often fail when they try and cut back on their spending and stick to a budget?
It’s because they’re told to spend less on “wants” – less money towards restaurants, limit their booze budget, stop taking vacations, etc.
The problem with this logic is that we are told to stop spending money on things that make us happy, but aren’t given any direction on what to replace those happiness-inducing activities with.
This is why thinking in terms of needs vs. wants is wrong. We’re told that if we want to reduce our spending, we need to stop overspending on wants. But wants are just an expression of underlying needs! Going out to bars is simply an expression of the need for friendship, companionship, socializing, etc.
I recorded a video to help you better understand how to reframe this idea of needs vs. wants. Fun fact – I satisfy my “need” for warmth in the winter by wearing multiple layers instead of using the heater. Some may call it cheap but…yeah, I’d probably agree 🙂
Unless we proactively think of other, ideally less expensive, ways to satisfy that underlying need, cutting that “want” from our budget will never last because we’re actually cutting out our needs. It’s then only a matter of time before we find another (and probably equally expensive way) to satisfy that need we cut. Yes, a need like socialization may fall lower on our hierarchy of needs than shelter, but it is still vital to one’s happiness.
An exercise for you
First, think of a “want” in your budget you feel you’re overspending in. Got it? Glorious. Now think of what underlying need(s) you are fulfilling with that want. Write them down.
Once they’re written down, ask yourself: what are 3-5 creative ways that you can fulfill the underlying need(s) of that want in a less expensive way? Write these down next to the underlying need(s) above.
Finally, tell someone/something about the ways in which you’re going to creatively save money while not making your life suck. For example, hit reply to this email and let me know. Or tie the piece of paper you wrote your answers on to the leg of a pigeon and release your ideas into the wild. Or stand in front of whatever pet you own and say “Pet, you are about to learn some of my inner yearnings”. Whatever you do, don’t keep this to yourself. Manifest it by putting it out into the world. You’ll be amazed at what comes of it.
Make A-gare-ica Gareat Again