Holding back some wants

One of the key steps to reach a savings goal and thus Financial Freedom by extension, is to spend less than you earn. Let’s see how wants and screw your savings.

Often it is said that you should be spending money on needs only, not wants. What does that mean? To me, it means I should spend money on things that I need to be happy. I should not spend money on things because they are cool or the Joneses have them.

What makes me happy?

Good question. Experiences make me happy, spending time with family and friends make me happy and travel. That means there are a lot of goods out there where I should not be spending my money. Recently, I came across a few occasions where the need vs. want reflex kicked in.

Since the new job, I commute again with the bike and wp-1475086491909.jpgtrain. Living in Belgium means that we have 10 pct change of rain on any given day. I thus need to take with me
some rain clothes while biking. And I brown bag, so those sandwiches needs a place as well. A back pack is not that comfortable and makes you sweat too much. I thus attach a bag to my bike. A colleague started talking about a cool Ortlib bag he has seen. And indeed, they are cool and for hipsters. I want one! Then I thought by myself: hey, what is wrong with yours… And I now am in peace with not getting a new one.

The smart devices we have at home are not the most recent ones. They get slow, I run often into storage limits when I want to update apps. Nothing impossible. Recently, I also found out that my Nexus 5 will not get the upgrade to Nougat. That was a bummer. The reason I bought it was my idea of eternal OS updates on that phone. Now, a hardware issue seems to be a problem. So, you start to look online for new devices. And then you realise that you want it, you do not need it. As long as the devices work, are secure and all my core apps work, I do not need a new one.

blog-1On the other hand, we recently booked a 4K ski trip for the holiday. That is a large sum of money and it is ok. It is part of the things in life that are important to me, that matter. For the summer, I would like to do a small road trip, even when it means flying to somewhere and renting a camper. I consider that money well spend. I love to travel and I want to pass the joy to my kids. Yes, we could also travel locally in Belgium. There is just too much change that the weather will be bad. And we can also do that on weekend trips.

How are the needs at your side?




20 thoughts on “Holding back some wants

  1. Perfectly OK I would say to spend consciously on things that matter to you! You might not live another day, so might want to enjoy life today as well. I need to travel now and then as well, building memories 🙂


  2. I love that you’re still spending money on the things that bring you happiness, namely travel. We agree with you completely, and while we have scaled back on spending in nearly every category, cutting back travel is not an option!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your new definition of needs and wants. I have never heard it like that before. I have known it for needs to be things that you need to survive and wants to be everything else. With my current definition, only spending on needs would be a pretty boring life. Ok for the short term, but definitely not a way to live. I like your definition better!


  4. You need to live now and still save for the future. I read so many blogs where people are so frugal that they get no enjoyment out of life. To make matters worse, they’re trying so hard to retire tomorrow and spend the rest of their lives in the poor house.

    I want to travel and buy things I want in retirement. I’d gladly work another 10 years to have an epic retirement. Good for you for booking the ski holiday.


  5. Experiences over ‘stuff’ every time – that’s what we enjoy the most, and what means the most to us.

    We don’t need a fancy car, a huge house, or the newest technology. We want yum healthy food, fun times on road trips, beach walks. Which actually, we can already have now 🙂



  6. The ski holiday certainly is a nice thing to look forward to, you probably will have a blast and a long lasting memory. Should be worth the money!

    I definitely “need” a holiday, but that is a different story 😉


  7. I’m with you, ATL, my wife and I ate at a place now where we are totally willing to spend money if it means a better upbringing for our son, a life experience for him, and also travel and entertainment for us. We only live once and I think we’ll regret it if we passed up a ski trip like you’ve planned just to save $4k and retire a few weeks earlier.

    I like your definition of needs and wants. The other thing I consider though is dining out… It’s a good family time but we could have just as good of time around or dining room table so we try to limit this to one a week.


  8. I totally agree with you. Spending money on things that you value are definitely worth it. My wife and I enjoy traveling and the memories that we’ve made far exceed the money that we have spent over the years.


  9. Very nice said. I go through similar battles in my mind. I have realized one aspect that I will share here.

    If you have used pressure cookers, you will know that there is a safety valve built into it. When the pressure gets too high, the safety valve will melt/break open and the pressure is released. Sacrificing wants is like building up pressure in a cooker. If you sacrifice too much, there will be an explosion i.e. one super big unwanted purchase that will soak up months of sacrifice. Heeding to selective wants is like a safety valve….it will prevent one from a bigger explosion.

    I have gone the other way of sacrificing too much and made life miserable for the entire family. This has resulted in a few big explosions as well. So, I have come to realize that it is better to have a controlled safety valve release i.e. heed to smaller and less expensive wants once in a while. A family outing is one such event where some pressure is released for all members of the family! And they do not notice things like an old car, small house, etc fixing which will add a lot more delay to the FI goal.

    Thanks for sharing. It is nice to see a similar soul out there!


  10. Thoughtful post atl. I recently was looking to buy a second mobile handset for work (it’s needed, as I’m self employed and can’t use my personal number) and starting looking at iPhones with reckless abandon. They start at over $1000AUD! Soon I talked myself into buying a cheaper phone, but was still looking at phones worth $200-500AUD. On top of the service charges ($30/mo) it was really adding up. Finally, I discussed this with a friend and they offered me their old iPhone 4 which had been sitting in their draw for the past couple years. I also signed up to a low cost plan, that might cost me less than $30 per month. So, I saved myself $1000 and managed to increase my financial self-discipline! I think splurging on the important things is far more valuable, just like you did with your Ski holiday, which I’m sure will be a great adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with humblefi. If I don’t allow myself a treat every once in a while, I fall off the wagon and buy something really expensive. Moderation is the key to everything!

    Nice you have a skiing trip to look forward to.


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