In personal finance, one makes decisions based on needs vs. wants. what is considered a need?

In personal finance, one makes decisions based on needs vs. wants. what is considered a need?

In personal finance, one makes decisions based on needs vs. wants. what is considered a need?



In personal finance, making decisions based on needs versus wants is crucial for maintaining financial stability and achieving long-term goals. Understanding the distinction between needs and wants is essential to prioritize spending and allocate resources effectively. This article will explore what is considered a need in personal finance and provide insights into making informed financial decisions.

Defining Needs

Basic Necessities: Needs are the essential items and services required for survival and well-being. These include food, water, shelter, clothing, and healthcare. These basic necessities are non-negotiable and form the foundation of personal finance decisions.

Utilities and Essential Services: Utilities such as electricity, water, and heating are considered needs as they are essential for maintaining a safe and comfortable living environment. Additionally, essential services like transportation, communication, and insurance are necessary for navigating daily life and protecting against unforeseen circumstances.

Debt Obligations: Meeting debt obligations, such as mortgage or rent payments, car loans, and student loans, is considered a need. Failing to fulfill these obligations can have severe consequences, including eviction, repossession, or damage to credit scores.

Factors Influencing Needs

Individual Circumstances: Needs can vary depending on individual circumstances. For example, a person with a chronic medical condition may require additional healthcare services or medications, making these expenses a higher priority need.

Geographical Location: The cost of living and regional factors can impact what is considered a need. For instance, housing costs may be significantly higher in metropolitan areas, making rent or mortgage payments a larger portion of the budget.

Family Responsibilities: Needs can also be influenced by family responsibilities. Providing for dependents, such as children or elderly parents, may require additional financial resources for their well-being and education.

Needs vs. Wants: Making Financial Decisions

Budgeting: Differentiating between needs and wants is essential when creating a budget. By prioritizing needs and allocating resources accordingly, individuals can ensure that essential expenses are covered before indulging in discretionary spending.

Emergency Fund: Building an emergency fund is crucial for financial stability. Prioritizing needs over wants allows individuals to save for unexpected expenses, such as medical emergencies or job loss, ensuring they can weather financial storms without resorting to debt.

Long-Term Goals: Distinguishing between needs and wants is crucial for achieving long-term goals, such as homeownership, retirement, or education. By prioritizing needs and making conscious spending choices, individuals can allocate resources towards these goals, ensuring financial security in the future.


In personal finance, distinguishing between needs and wants is essential for making informed decisions. Needs encompass basic necessities, essential services, and debt obligations, while wants refer to discretionary spending. By understanding these distinctions and prioritizing needs over wants, individuals can maintain financial stability, build savings, and work towards their long-term goals.


– Investopedia:
– The Balance:
– NerdWallet: