Needs refer to those that are necessary for survival. On the other hand, desires refer to those that people want in life although there is no threat to survival if the individual fails to accomplish them. Desires are forever growing in the individual as he tries more to accomplish them.
When planning our economy it is important to identify the difference between need and desire, since in relation we can designate when it is avoidable or inevitable to acquire a certain good or service. To be able to differentiate one concept from another, in the first place, it is important to fully know what each concept refers to.
When we speak of necessity, we refer to those expenses that are essential for living, such as the purchase of food, the payment of housing, or even clothing, that is, everything that cannot be ignored, negotiated, or displaced.
For its part, desire refers to wanting certain specific things that may not be essential for daily life or even those needs that can become desire, such as when wanting to purchase a specific product such as a pair of shoes. of a certain brand to cover a certain need for clothing.
What is needed?
According to the Michaelis dictionary, necessity means:
“. Characteristic of what is needed. 2. What is absolutely vital? 3. That which is inevitable. 4. Which is of great use.”
He also explains that needs are the basic needs of human beings.
When you see these concepts, it is easy to understand what are the only things that should qualify as a need and that you really need: a place to live, some clothes, food, and water.
In this way, we quickly perceive the difference between the superfluous and the necessary items, when we stop to analyze what is really necessary for our survival.
What is desire?
On the other hand, the same dictionary brings the following meanings for the word desire:
” Act or effect of desiring; the tendency of the will to seek knowledge, possession, or enjoyment of something. 2. Conscious craving or need; want, will. 3. Strong desire to achieve a certain goal; ambition, greed.”
In other words, if we are going to draw a parallel with what the word need means, consumer desires represent everything else.
The superfluous, in fact, are those items that make life a little more pleasurable and fun. And, yes, we should enjoy our lives!
However, some people think that cell phones, huge houses, cable TV, eating out, and the like are basic necessities. But in reality, they are not.
Needs vs Desires: concepts
In a quick distinction, we can say that:
- Needs are items that we really need and that, without these objects or services, we will experience deprivation.
- Wishes, on the other hand, can be postponed, as they won’t miss us sharply in our lives.
Now stop and think: have you ever thought about not having a refrigerator in your house? So… She is, without a shadow of a doubt, a necessity! But does it have to be the one who talks and has a beer dispenser at the door? If that’s the case, your need has just turned into a desire! Did you understand the difference?
Another example I like to use is a smartphone…
At the moment when we’re all at home in quarantine, we all need a device like that, right? Being without it can be synonymous with going through various difficulties and even not knowing the news, or losing contact with our loved ones. If yours broke, you have an immediate need to buy a new one. But does it need to be the latest version of that trendy cell phone? If so, realize that your legitimate need has just turned into a desire. Can you see the subtlety of the difference?
The point is that a lot of people get confused thinking that having the latest version of this cell phone is a necessity and they even make a loan (or pay in installments on the card without knowing how to pay off the bill later) in order to make this purchase.
What’s more, if your cell phone is still working and fulfilling its role, switching to a newer version would clearly be a wish and not a necessity. Do you agree?
If you can put off the purchase and it’s not going to affect your life, then it’s a wish and not a necessity.
On the other hand, having a postpaid plan with unlimited internet turns out to be a wish and not a necessity, as it is possible to access Wi-Fi from various places and even save time using videos and photos when you are on the street. And let’s agree that the time is now to stay at home, so, how about thinking about changing your current plan to a more affordable one and taking advantage of the Wi-Fi at home?
I don’t know if you were aware of this differentiation between wants and needs, but keeping this in mind can prevent you from falling into consumption traps that are all over the place. Check it out…
You surf the internet in a department store looking for, for example, a frying pan because yours broke. The skillet is a legitimate need, right? It happens that, while you are browsing the store, you end up being bombarded with information about various products. There are countless ads to make your mind susceptible to buying more and more.
Then, the outcome of what would be a quick purchase of a skillet ends with you buying plastic pots, towels, and toys.
The question that won’t remain silent: was all this really necessary? I think you now know the answer!
The importance of understanding the difference between need and desire
Well… Knowing this difference can be decisive for your behavior as a consumer and, consequently, for your financial health.
Our desires are endless, but our resources are limited. The current moment we are going through ends up showing us that we can live with less and also the importance of not wasting our resources, which may become scarce, the greater the need for social isolation.
Understanding the difference between needs and wants makes all the difference when it comes to taking care of our finances, even more so now when uncertainties are greater than ever!
To know how to differentiate between need and desire, we can be guided by a series of key characteristics such as:
- Necessity is essential for living, desire is not.
- The need will always be more important in life, the desire is what we want to obtain to feel better.
- Some examples of needs are food, shelter, health, and clothing.
- Some examples of desire are entertainment items, experiences such as trips, trips to restaurants or the movies, etc.
- Need is something you must have in order to survive, while desire is something you want to have and don’t need.
- Desire is something you may want to have, but the need is mandatory and you also want to satisfy your need.
- Food is a necessity, but your desire to eat pizza for lunch is your desire.
- Clothing is the need to cover your body, but the urge to wear jeans is what you want.
- The shelter is the need, but the desire to live in a palace is a desire.
- Education is a necessity, but education is a known institute that is a desire.
- The car is a necessity for Mercedes it is a desire.
- The cell phone is a necessity, but the «Apple Phone» is a desire.
It is important to clarify that needs and desires vary according to each person, age, or interests, so one of the most important keys to differentiating and balancing your economy in terms of needs and desires is to define the amount you are willing to pay. Invest to cover each of these factors, both for the avoidable and the inevitable.
Examples of differences between need and desire
- It is extremely important to know the difference between need and desire to maintain a balanced and prosperous economy since by identifying each factor it is possible to define what you can avoid spending and what you cannot.
- Although there are differences between need and desire, it is important to clarify that at some point even the need can turn into a desire, when you aspire to acquire a specific good or service to cover a certain need.
- The main difference between need and desire is that the first of these concepts is of greater importance for daily life, whereas the second of them can be expected.