One of the important aspects of Financial planning is spending money wisely. Now, what does it mean when I say “Spending money Wisely”? All the expenses & spending activity we do can be classified under two sub heads ‘Needs’ & ‘Wants’. Improper handling of money happens when you spend too much on your Wants and too less on your Needs.
The aim should be to spend/save money for your needs and then take care of your wants. Once you prioritize all your expenses/goals in these categories, planning your finances becomes easy!
What is the Difference between Need and Want?
Needs: A need is something which is essential for you irrespective of the financial situation/conditions. These are the things you have to take care first and only then comes other things which you can do without.
- House Expenses
- Child Education
- Saving money for Retirement
- Medical Expenses
- School/College fees and expenses
- Family Vacations and outings (in limit)
Wants: These are things which you wish to have but they are not above your Needs. For example a Car is a Want when compared to your Child Fees or Education saving. You can live your life without car but Child Education is Vital and cannot be compromised.
Some people’s Wants can be a Need for others and vice versa. It all depends on personal life style and attitude. But the main point here is that you have to differentiate between your Needs and Wants at short to medium term time frame and Long term view.
- Extra Vacation
- Expensive clothes above your normal requirement
- Expensive Car or any vehicle above your budget
Note: Understand the point that Wants are not something which you should avoid but your Needs can/should not be compromised because of your Wants.
Why is it Important these days?
These days almost everyone live their life in a unplanned manner especially their finances are Unplanned in a Big Way. People spend first and think later/late about it. But money spent once will not come back.
Once you prioritize things well and have a proper road map on your spending pattern you can take care of your Needs first and then move towards fulfilling your Wants.
Let us take a case Study
One of my friend spends his money in a pathetic manner. He earns around 30,000 per month and is already in job from last 2 yrs. He spends a lot with his friends on parties on weekend. He buys branded shoes which he is very fond off. Great …!! He does not understand the value of what small savings can do.
Just before the year end he asked me how can he save the tax and wants to invest some money.
On further inquiry I come to know that his Parents are dependent on him (though he is not sending any money at this moment to his home). So he needs good amount of Insurance, he has no savings till now! Finally he is not left with any money to even pay insurance premium this year (2009), not invest any money in some mutual fund.
What is the point?
This person has spent his money on all the things he wants and nothing on his needs- which are essential. He has violated fundamental rule of Financial planning which will affect him very badly.
Once all your needs are taken care of and if you are left with surplus, I, myself would encourage you to spend your money on satisfying your Wants like no tomorrow!! But first comes important things- you can live without your Wants, but not without Needs.
Imagine you are going for Golf Games and you are not left with money that is enough to take your Family out sometime on vacations.
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