Anyone who wants to follow a budget should learn to give higher priority to his or her ‘needs’ over ‘wants’. The principle is simple to understand but difficult to implement. The main difficulty is in deciding whether something should be categorized as a need or a want. This is because there is no fixed formula for making the decision and it all depends on your lifestyle and personal preferences.
Make a shopping list
The best way to deal with this problem is to go shopping with a list. If you come across an item that is not on your list, but you would still like to have it, then you should just write it down for the next round of shopping. You have to stick to your shopping list and avoid buying anything extra. This will ensure that you do not spend money on anything that you do not really need. If you put down that item for future, then you give yourself some more time to think about whether you really need it.
Avoid spending on luxuries when you are following a budget
When you do not use a shopping list or are just window-shopping, then you need to ask yourself if that item is a must-have. If it simply adds another luxury to your life, then you might not need it. The answer to this question is very personal. For some people, a coffee machine is a must-have while for others it is a luxury. Advertisements try to convince consumers that their products are necessary and must be bought, so you might be tempted into making a frivolous purchase. For example, during winters, a heater is a ‘need’, but spending an extra $200 for a fancy heater with unnecessary features should be classified as a ‘want’.
Consider your financial position
Another factor that you have to consider is your financial position. You need to see if your budget has room for that expenditure. Or would you rather spend the money on something more meaningful, like a weekend picnic with your family? Keep in mind the more important areas where you would prefer to spend your money instead of spending it wastefully and without any foresight.
Set a goal
It also helps if you set a goal for your budget and keep that goal in mind while making any purchasing decision. Take some time to think about every purchase, as it can determine whether you’ll be able to stick to your budget or not.