Saturday, September 27, 2008

Needs Versus Wants



Lyn left a comment last week that really resonated with me! Here's what she said:


Frugality due to necessity is how we live, although even if we were in a better position, I would always live frugally. I really think it's wrong not to when there are so many in need in this world. Much of my frugal living comes down to many things we don't do (although there's a lot I do) - we don't vacation, we stay home instead of wasting precious gas. I try to stay out of stores and don't even go to thrift stores or garage sales.
Spending to me is still spending and I'm always tempted, so I stay away. We focus on paying the bills and taking care of what we already have. There's really not much we need. It's lack of contentment that gets many into trouble. I'm not perfect but I really work on this and I'm able to be home full-time while living on a smaller income. I'm grateful for that.


She makes so many good points! Know your needs from your wants and decide if buying a want is really the best use of your money in these uncertain times. That's something I struggle with all the time. Do I buy that fabulous dish that sets my heart a flutter or do I save that money. Should I donate that money instead? Sometimes buying the thing wins (90% of the time) - I'm by no means perfect! Then I always ask myself "how many dishes/linens/fabric/insert your gazingus pin- do I really need?"

I love decorating! How many times do I need to re-do a room that's perfectly fine (even if I do it on a budget)? Why am I re-doing it? Am I bored and need something to do or discontent? Do I think a new look would make me happier (sometimes it does)?

Believe me, I've painted my kitchen at least 7 times in 10 years, so I am in no way saying it's something that shouldn't happen. I'm all about believing that your home is a reflection of you. Sometimes I sit in my living room and think how much I enjoy the way it looks! It does make me happy! I want a pretty home. I just think I need to be honest with myself about why I do some of these things. And if it's cause I need a "project" to keep me busy, well...at least I know the truth of why I'm spending my money and that's important! Or maybe I've changed and my house/that room is no longer "me" and needs to be changed? I don't know....I don't have it all together....I just spent $5 on a yard of toile that I have no use for, but I loved it and one day I will use it! ....and I feel guilty. We could use that money on so many other things(nothing essential like food or mortgage). Ugh! Do you have a headache yet? ~smile


The best way to save money is not to spend it in the first place.


26 comments:

glorv1 said...

I have a friend who is constantly re-doing her kitchen or living room or bedroom. Anything just to re-do. I can't understand why, when the previous looked so nice. She barely gets it complete and she starts again. I personally don't like so many changes. I haven't painted my kitchen in about 8 years and it is still fine. We painted our bedroom and the second bedroom last year, only because they needed the paint and my kitchen we did re-do the countertops because I wanted tile that is easy to clean. I like things to stay the way they are, I don't, I'm just that way. Everything you do though is very nice and I like it very much.

Teresa @ PlumWater Cottage said...

I've always been pretty frugal, but especially so since my divorce five years ago. I find that I'm constantly re-arranging furniture and engaging in "make-do" decorating. Guess you could say it's what I do to entertain myself. I always budget for a little bit of "fun money"...nothing impractical--a little fabric, some beads and candles. The little things that make me happy.

salmagundi said...

Your post really hit home with me. I struggle all of the time about spending money on unnecessary things. I know that part of the reason is that I'm bored now that we are empty nesters; but I also so enjoy change and having a nice home. The battle within me goes on. Thanks for putting into words so many of my thoughts. Sally

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have to live frugally but I also think it important to create a lovely home (as cheap as possible).

Our homes are the blank canvas of our creativity.

I'd say $5.00 is very cheap if you put it back where you can find it (which was my problem at one time) and one day you will have it at just the right time.

I was given birthday money in July which one could say should have gone on basics (which I do the rest of the year) but I used most of it to purchase something on clearance for my home from my very favorite shop, a few items for the home from garage sales, and the two big containers that hold flour in my kitchen.

All of which make me smile as I go through the day. We have always purchased furniture that is the highest quality we can afford, too. (Of course, having a husband with an MS in Furniture Engineering has a lot to do with that.)

I keep a mental ceiling on what I can spend to make the house look pretty. When hubby was working it was $20.00 per paycheck. Now it is only when I receive a gift but when I do, I give myself permission to use it to make the home lovely... and warm... and cozy.

I feel that is a gift to everyone in the house.

Lyn said...

Manuela,
That's so kind of you to share my words in a post.

I don't do much in the way of decorating. There's just not a budget for that. But I enjoy your blog and a few others as well to see the pretty things they do, especially when done inexpensively.

I've found for us that making frugal decisions is often the difference of being able to continue to stay home versus me needing to get a job while having chronic health issues. I definitely choose the former over the latter, so I choose frugality as my means to accomplish that.

I'm enjoying all your budget posts - they are simply very timely in this economy. Thank you.

Jen r. said...

I go through the same struggle with decorating... I like the changes...it makes me happy...we could not spend any money at all, but then are we living a real life???I think it's that happy medium...

Lyn said...

I just wanted to add that for myself I think there's a balance to having a nice home versus adding more stuff. My little home is comfortable and has a few nice things but I'm pretty simple so I don't like adding a lot of clutter.

Manuela, I think we all like nice things and struggle with the same as you mentioned. We all have our little things that make us smile. It's just trying to find that balance within each of us of when it's all "enough".

Storybook Woods said...

I sadly confess I give into my wants, too many times. Clarice

Simply Me Art said...

I used to give in all the time for years and years on so many things for our house. Money is not there like it was then and you know what? it is just fine! I switch little things up quite a bit for very little money and Im happy whith that. Im Amazed now at all the waste I did for so many years. Makes me not so proud to think Of all I purchased that we never needed. Im very Happy with our home it is comfortable, I get compliments from people when they visit and I always laugh cuz it is flea market, marshalls and target decorated but its Homey! I think if a little something for your house makes you feel good than buy it. You certainly don't have to spend alot to make yourself feel good. I know working and being in my home day in and day out I get bored looking at all the same decor.LOL.. Great Post Manuela. Jamie

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

I think it's good to have a hobby and I look at decorating as my hobby. It brings me happiness and keeps me busy. There are a lot of people that spend a lot more on their hobbies so I don't feel bad doing what I love.

ellie said...

that's a good topic to bring up in these uncertain times. I'm not frugal...but I'm also not a huge spender. I do like to shop..I do. My mom was that way so I think it was the way I was brought up. My husband aunt is very, very Frugal and doesn't have to be, her husband is a rocket scientist and makes very good money..they brought up boys that are extremely frugal. I think there needs to be a balance. I was watching Suzee Orman on Oprah this week and she said some things that resonated with me and helped me understand the crisis the country is in right now. We have been such a society..of spend, spend, spend and do so on credit, credit, credit. I have been a SAHM for 11 years and have had to sacrifice many things in order to do this. We do not drive new cars but sometimes one has to make a sacrifice to live a certain lifestyle. (i wouldn't of changed anything, SAHM) It was the best thing for our family. But many times I would of had to ask myself the question...do I want this or do I need this?

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Me too...you know how much I love decorating too & creating on a budget is such a fun thing to do. But, I know I bring home too many things that I really don't need. They just give me a little thrill when I find them & then find a place for them. I know that decluttering & getting rid of what I don't use is key for me. I'm about to have a yardsale to pare down some things. I don't redo rooms all that frequently, I live with things for several years before I decide to make big changes. Small changes are easy & easier on the pocketbook. I know...I don't have it figured out either.

The Polka Dot Pixie said...

Chiming in to share that I agree that it is about all about balance. I am so amazed and impressed by the talented bloggers (including you and some of those who have commented here) who have taught me how to remake a room using stuff I already have, or to take a thrift store find, and make it beautiful with leftover paint and vintage embellishments. Whenever I am creating something, be it a little Snowman doll out of paper mache, or making over an old chair for the dining room,I am completely happy. Like a good workout for your your body, the creative process stretches the mind and the imagination, and provides natural stress relief too!!! You can't put a price on that! :-) ((((hugs))))- Jenny

Sarah said...

Thank you!!

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

I Love frugal living (at times I have had to live that way, and at times I haven't, but I wouldn't change anything....you nailed everything on the head (no headache here).

carolr said...

I agree with frugality. Have you thought that maybe this economic crisis may be kind of good for us? We have all gotten so "spendy"! No one seems to save, then buy.
Anyway, I noticed you have Johnson Brothers Schoolhouse winter dishes and so do I. I always put them out after Thanksgiving and put them away at Easter.

Elizabeth said...

Good post! I try to be very aware of my spending, though my home is one area where I am willing to spend a little more. Like you said, it is a wonderful feeling when you can sit back and enjoy your home!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. :)

ROXY said...

Wow...that was wonderfully put!!

Tammy said...

So glad you stopped by to visit! I've enjoyed coming here...what a wonderful blog theme!
I so agree...So many times we are spending money needlessly.
For me, I think there should be a balance (when possible)...I feel if it is saved for and planned for, a vacation is a good thing, for example...it's not just fun seeing new places but educational, too! (You can tell I home school!)

But at the same time, it's too easy to buy things this country we simply don't need.
Sometimes the best things in life truly are free! And yes, we are pretty frugal. Even when we managed a family vacation this past spring- our first Disneyland trip- we drove for two days instead of flew...and stayed mostly in cheap hotels. But it was a fun adventure for the most part!

And we're re-decorating our home on a budget as well...we do all our own work...a little at a time! But the good part of that is the satisfaction in it.

By the way, I love your show and tell post below!

Hope you drop by again soon- I know I'll be bookmarking you!

Blessings,
~Tammy (Lattes and Lollipops)

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Lots of wise points here today!
"The best things in life aren't things" is a quote I love. Just to live it now...

Paula said...

Dear Manuela,
Thank you for sharing this! We live frugally too. I love making our home pretty and decorating it and I am more careful of what I buy than I used to be. I don't think you should feel guilty about the $5 you spent on the yard of toile fabric. As you said you loved it and will use it. I can see by reading your post you are very careful of how you spend your money. You are not wasteful at all. It is such fun to feather our nests, to rearrange furniture and enjoy decorating using things we have on hand or getting something that we love. I want to be a good steward of the money we have, but also enjoy things that bring beauty to our home, it is about finding a balance that I strive for. I am always encouraged by your post and inspired by your lovely home!
Blessings,
Paula

Janet said...

The last line is what we all need to focus on. You save money by not spending it!!. Not rocket science, but a difficult concept for many in this age of instant gratification.

Janet

Bettsi said...

I like what Cindy said about our "fluffing" being our hobby. There are hobbies like golf, that can get very costly, but it still provides an outlet for the golfer. Our little hobby provides us with an outlet AND a tangible thing- a home that nurtures us. I think it comes down to priorities- if you are taking care of what HAS to be taken care of, then what you spend on your hobby is YOUR business and I don't think you have to feel bad about it. Some people, and Manuela, I think you are one them as are most of your readers, have a real NEED for nice surroundings. We function better and we feel better when our homes are nice. You don't have to beat yourself up for that AT ALL. I really enjoy your blog because you take on topics that are a little deeper and it makes good "food for thought". Thanks!

dana said...

I need to burn the words from this post in my brain!!! I wrestle with the same thoughts you do---with just a difference in what I buy. I do a great deal of "resale" of items I find at a great price, but my problem is "letting go" of the items--OR not being able to sell them like I thought would happen--then I see I have money tied up in these "things" that are now stacking up and cluttering up and reminding me by their mere presence that I put hard earned money into bringing them home with me! It becomes adictive, too,---going on "the hunt". I guess "the hunt" part isn't so bad (except wasting fuel and time"), but it's the outlay of money on items that just really aren't necessary! On the other hand---I LOVE it! It makes me happy to search for those treasures---and I guess I could be doing a lot worse things with my time and money. So there you go--I'm a lost cause!!

I still need to keep your words from this post at least printed on paper and taped to my bathroom mirror!

Dana

Lady Katherine said...

I have to be honest. I do live a simple life, but if I find something that makes my heart flutter, I know I am in love and it goes home with me. Then I just cut back on other things.

Nancy said...

Great post! I will have to come back and read this post often...I am the same way. I think I buy because I love to decorate with new things...it's something to do that I enjoy...to bad my hobby cost money....LOL I have started thrifting, but still that can add up. Nancy