Unconventional Savings Tip: Assess Need and Wants


Hi all! over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a series of unconventional savings tip posted here on the blog every Thursday. You can get on our weekly email list to get even more tips and encouragement!

unconventional savings tip - assess your needs and wants.

Yesterday one of my kids was whining a little bit, and asking why we couldn’t go out and buy him a skate board. I explained to him that we don’t just run out and buy all the things we want, every time we want them.

First, we assess whether there’s a need, then, in the case of a want, we take some time to think about how this want will add value to our lives, and in the case of a toy (and I’m definitely classifying a skate board for a six year old as a toy!), ask ourselves if it’s something we’ll continue to find joy in, or just a passing fancy.

He didn’t like my answer, and quite frankly, I think he’d been a lot more happy if I’d simply said “no” rather than giving him a whole lecture, but I’m hoping that eventually, these lectures will sink in.

He still wants a skate board, and I’m happy to report that he’s taken some odds and ends out of his grandpa’s junk pile and is attempting to build his own.

I know it probably frustrates him a lot, but I figure he can at least wait until his birthday to be indulged, and in the meantime, he can build some skills and exercise creativity.

In case you’re wondering what in the world my point in all this is, I’m getting to that.

jar of money

Unconventional Savings Tip: Assess Need and Wants

I think this need-versus-want-versus-can-it-wait-a-while philosophy can be applied to a lot more than toys.

Like groceries. What? We need groceries, right? Sure, we want groceries, but it’s definitely a need, right?

Yes… and no.

We need sustenance, we don’t necessarily need chocolate – although sometimes I’ll even debate that one. 😉

But I want to share this admittedly unconventional grocery savings tip, because it’s been on my mind:

Sometimes the best way to save money on groceries is to wait a little longer to go shopping – until you truly need to.

  • Wait until you have to eat up those things that you bought and didn’t love because there’s nothing better to eat.
  • Wait until your craving for a more inexpensive ingredient goes away.
  • And when you’re shopping, when you see something you want, that you don’t strictly need, rather than telling yourself no, tell yourself, “I’ll wait for a few minutes, and come back if I still want it”.

Chances are, by the time you get to the checkout aisle, you’ll have changed your mind, and if not, no harm done.

It’s a simple tips, and it can be uncomfortable – because food cravings are some of the hardest impulses to ignore. But it really can save you a lot of money, and even force you to eat healthier!

P.S. What’s your best unconventional savings tip? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. I was in a grocery store with a friend on a fairly tight budget and was surprised when she put a frivolous food item in her cart. She said, “Oh, I probably won’t buy it. I’ll just swing back here and put it back on the shelf.” And that’s what she ended up doing!

  2. I love putting extra things in my basket that I want. By the time I get done shopping, I have no problem putting the item back on the shelf. That way, it was mine, if only for a short time!

  3. We are selling our house and moving into a 28 ft fifth wheel until we build our own home. On land we already own and have been working on. My husband has a year supply of food storage (for one) but 50 lbs of quick oats can go along way in saving $$ now. ( Not to mention everything else that’s there).

  4. I like this. If I see some food item I want but don’t really need, and I pass it by to finish my real shopping first, by the time I get to the end of that, I’ll probably have forgotten what the item I wanted (but didn’t need) actually was, lol. (Yes, I have to shop with a list).

  5. You should tell yourself, “I’ll wait a few minutes, and come back if I still want it,” rather than “I won’t buy that because I don’t need it,” when you find something you desire but don’t really need when shopping.

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