What is the Difference Between a Wants Vs Needs Mindset?

Today we're going to dive in and talk about wants versus needs. Do you ever struggle with overspending or impulse buying? You are not alone. I've been a wants person, and I went and got new clothes, shoes, a fancy car, and a boat.

Did any of it bring me contentment? Did I need it, or did I want it? I'm not saying that we can't have nice things that we can't go out and also save for really great things, but it's that money mindset of needs versus wants and asking ourselves questions before making significant purchases.

Wants vs. needs

I will be sharing with you some practical questions to consider regarding wants versus needs when making some purchases. These are some things that have been helpful for me.

I am an impulse purchaser. I recently purchased a new car, and I wanted that car so badly, and I wanted it right then. So when I am buying something, especially when it's a big purchase, I have learned to slow down.

Through time I have realized that I need to do a lot more research, slow down, taking my time before I make a purchase. I'm so glad I did because the car I wanted was the opposite of the one I needed.

Prioritize purchases

Think about your season, the time in your life, or different situations. What do you need right now? Prioritize your purchases. We all know we need our basics. We need shelter; we need gas; we need food; we need health care; we need clothing and shoes and those kinds of things. If you have children, obviously baby care items. Those are the needs.

A lot of the other things are wants. So think about needs versus wants. If you want a lavish trip, it's something we can save for and build up our funds for. That does help you prioritize not only in your budget but before you go out and spend.

Feeling tired and sick

Check how you're feeling

Last week I was down with an illness. So many online shopping stores could have quickly eaten up so much of my money because I was down, sick, vulnerable, and not feeling good. I wanted all these different things. I had to put this into practice. Know your vulnerabilities.

If you are tired, if you're hungry, if you're sick, if you're feeling lonely, you're stressed out, those kinds of things, really pause in those moments where you are a little bit more vulnerable to go out and do that impulse shopping or to make those online purchases on Amazon or your favorite little store.

Delayed gratification

Knowing yourself is as important as knowing your spending personality. Another thing to think about is whether I can delay purchasing it.

Do I need this right now? Is this something I can delay for maybe a couple of days, a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or even a couple of years? If you pause in those moments, wait ten minutes to an hour, or even 24 hours, you'll realize you don't need that. I don't want it anymore.

Paying in cash

Can you pay in cash?

Another question to ask yourself is can I pay cash for this? Is this something that I will go into extreme debt to purchase this item? If

you're going into debt to purchase a whole bunch of different items; that's something to evaluate.

I love wants. I think it's healthy to have wants but make out a list. Put your needs versus wants. Then make sure to get your needs, basics, housing, gas, food, and things like that. Then save for your wants if they are items you want in the next month, six months, a year, or more.


God puts desires in our hearts, but he also wants us to be wise stewards of our money. One of the great Bible verses that I love, and I'll share a couple of them real quick, is Hebrews 13:5. Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.

Are you feeling anxious about your money or your financial situation? I know a lot of us right now are going through some financial difficulties, losses of jobs, inflation, maybe you've lost money in the stock market, and maybe fear has been something you're starting to struggle with.

Wants vs needs

God does want to bring you that financial peace. He wants to provide for you. Over the last several years, I have always journaled my needs versus wants in my prayer journal.

I have seen God provide in such amazing ways, even fun things. There were so many times I was like, are you serious? I wanted this. I prayed, asked God for it, and it was fun to see how God provided it when I couldn't purchase it myself. I wanted to end with a quick Bible verse, so it brings you a sense of peace.

"Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body. What you will put on is not life more than food and the body more than clothing. Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor weep but gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father knows what your needs are."

That is Matthew six, basically read 25 through 27.

How to save money with a wants vs needs mindset

To wrap up, think about your wants versus needs as you're going into the new month. Write out a list and focus on contentment. I know that it's so difficult, especially in our society. We compare what others have, to be content with what we have.

Do you struggle with impulse buying? Share your strategies for overcoming wants in the comments below.

Join the conversation
2 of 19 comments
  • Pat jones Pat jones on Jan 11, 2024

    This was good information, my wants and needs at times are hard to balance. I really need to work on being happy and satisfied with meeting my needs and controlling my wants more.

  • Fee Miriam Rosenfeltz Fee Miriam Rosenfeltz on Jan 11, 2024

    What you say about God providing is so very true. I'd been worrying about a financial situation but kept turning it over to God. Today I stopped in to the church for a few minutes after running errands, and that was the exact time i got a phone call setting the solution in motion. God is so good.💖