Monday, September 20, 2010

Delayed Gratification - Needs and Wants

Hi there

Do you know what the above title means?

In simple terms it means waiting for stuff that you need or want.

That then brings up the very different words - Need and Want.

Do you know the difference between what you need and what you want?

Do you take the time to stop and think before you jump in and buy something?

I am now 47 years of age and if I could do things again or go back and give myself advice then these two things are the main things I would tell myself.

I would have learnt to work out what my needs were first.

Then I would work out what my wants are.

I then would have set goals to achieve these things one at a time and delay the gratification. I would have enjoyed my purchase or the thing I acquired so much. I would have learnt from this how to save, how to budget and how to wait for something.

We live in a world that offers us daily instant gratification with promises of buy now and pay later. Promises and statements that we deserve whatever our hearts desire. Promises that you can have anything you want and it is encouraged from an early age to desire what everyone else has.

I wish more than anything that you young energetic people reading this would just stop and take notice of these words I write. That you would take the time to explore and investigate what I am saying and ACTION it.

I spent so much of my life wasting my money. Thinking that I can have whatever I want now. Never planning for a future. Never thinking of the days when I wouldn't have the energy or the inclination to work long hours in a job. I never thought of owning my own home for security. I never gave a second thought to getting older. I am still young but these past mistakes are making a big difference now in my life. I want to slow down but I have years to go to owning my own house and having the security of not having to move away.

Could you do a little excercise now for me. Work out what 10% of your weekly income is. Is it $10, $40, $100. Add that up over a year. Add 5%. Add the next years worth and then add 5% to that total.

Do you imagine that you will be alive and kicking at 55? How many years till you turn 55? Do the above excersice for the total amount of years till you are 55. How much money would that be?

Could you start with 5% of your income? Is there something you could do without - let's say smokes and actually bank that into a fixed - cannot touch it - bank account. As the amount grows over the years your interest will grow and the amount of interest you will be able to get will grow as well.

Could you save $10 here and there on buying one or two less items in your shopping and making it yourself?  Could you use this to save up for that item that is top of your list in needs and wants?

Food for thought. I just really want to encourage you to think about the fact that you too will grow older. You too will want security and a safe place to settle down finally. The takeaways, the handbag, the weekend away, the cloths, the concert ticket etc etc will all be forgotten. The minute you get it and it has been used it is forgotten. Gratification after a purchase does not last forever. Usually it is very fleeting and you get home and it is not even something you use or wear or really need. It gets stored up and then sold at a garage sale or given away to someone else or worse still, thrown in the bin. This goes for cloths, cars, furniture, gadgets, phones and food.

Gratification that has been delayed is something much sweeter. Lets say you really would like a new cupboard/set of drawers. You save a little each week. You survive without this piece of furniture just fine. You know it would make things neater and easier at home but you wait. You stash a few bucks away as often as possible. You don't go and buy anything else written below that item on your list. You are waiting for that one thing. You then finally have some money saved. You start looking around. You finally find it on special at a store and you get it for cash and for a much reduced price because you had the money there saved up and kept your eye out for it. You bring it home. It feels good to put everything away in it. It fits your home perfectly. You look after it. You then keep that cupboard for many years and it is yours. You get to enjoy that gratification of that purchase for so much longer than you would if you bought it when behind on other bills. Guilt would have got in the way. You would have resented the purchase and not enjoyed it. The only enjoyment you would have got would be while making a quick decision to buy it there and then and once you handed over the money or credit card the whole experience turns sour.

Anyway - give this some thought.

Give me feedback. Talk to your friends about this. Talk to other older people and ask them their views. Listen to them. Learn.




  1. Great post; it is important to know the difference between wants and needs.

  2. Thankyou so much Toyin for your comment and for taking the time to read this post. This is such a new Blog and it is still evolving. Great to have you visit. Cheers, Wendy

  3. Just wanted to thank you for visting my blog and your gracious comment Wendy. Have a great day!

  4. Hi Wendy,

    It is me again; Just wanted to thank you again for your visit and gracious comment. What you said about the end of my post, that was exactly what I meant, so it makes a lot of sense what you said:) Have a wonderful day!