What are needs and wants?

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You might already be familiar with the idea that there are a few basic things all people must have to survive. These things include food, clothing, and shelter and are known as needs. Needs can also include things that are essential to sustaining or improving your quality of life, like medicines and education.

In addition to needs, many people also have wants. A want is something that isn’t essential to survival, but which we would like to have if we can, such as toys, movie tickets, or a swimming pool.

It’s important to understand the difference between needs and wants because it can help you know how to spend and save wisely. Figuring out if something is a want or a need can be easy! Ask yourself questions like “What will happen if I don’t have this item?” or “Can I live without it?” If nothing will happen if you don’t have it, or if you can live without it, the item is a want. We must always first take care of our needs because those are the things that keep us healthy, safe, and able to lead a good life.


by   (whyzz writer)
  • Further information

    Sometimes, an item can be both a want and a need. For example, if you really want a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, that would be both a need (food) and a want (peanut-butter and jelly). However, sometimes an item might seem like both but actually turn out to be just a want. For example, if you really want gold-colored sneakers, you may think this is a need, since clothing is essential to have. Remember, though, that your if your existing pair of sneakers are still in good shape, or if the gold sneakers are more expensive but not any better than buying the white pair for less, then the special shoes are only a want.
  • Exploration

    Think about your life and have a grown-up help you make a list of your “needs” and “wants.”

    Some examples of needs might be a warm winter coat, healthy foods to eat, a toothbrush, a ride to school, and pencils and notebooks for homework.

    Some examples of wants might be a polka-dotted dress, ice cream, expensive sunglasses, a pogo stick, and comic books.

    Looking at your list, can you see how the items on your needs list are different than the items on your wants list?

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