A close family member and I were walking through Canadian Tire on a frigid January afternoon in 2008. This particular January was special as it happened to be the month before my first child was scheduled to be born. As I searched for the toaster I had set out to find, I heard the words, ‘Oh my gosh, you absolutely need this!’
I turned and saw a little white box with a lid. As frugality is an innate characteristic virtually all of my family, friends and most co-workers know about me, my family member said, ‘wait..please..hear me out’. This is a baby bottom wipe warmer…it is designed to keep the baby bottom wipes warm. When you have to change the baby, he or she won’t start crying because of the cold wipes.
For a first time parent, wanting the absolute best for your unborn child, I can see why this device would be construed as a need. I actually categorize an item like this in a new section. It’s not a want, it’s not a need but a ‘nice to have’. In the late 70’s/early 80’s when my parents were wiping by bottom with baby wipes, they did not have a bottom wipe warming machine. Believe it or not, I have never needed to sit down with a therapist to discuss how the cold bottom wipes affected my quality of life since being an infant. I’ve been perfectly fine.
Needs vs Wants
Having the discipline to control your needs vs. wants can truly help individuals and families live a more fiscally responsible life. That being said, may I suggest a new category that we need to look out for…this is the nice to have’s category. Nice to have’s are a tricky bunch as they appear to be needs when they are not. They are simply things that would make life a little bit easier but we can survive just fine without them. My wife and I now have an almost 9 year old daughter who is a perfectly adjusted artistic young lady who was wiped with cold wipes. The $40.00 saved on the bottom wipes warmer is in her education savings fund growing.
Nice to have’s come in all shapes and sizes. They aren’t always physical objects such as a little white box. They can be things such as making a conscious effort to purchase clothing that can be washed at home (maybe on the gentle cycle) instead of investing in clothing that will fill the pockets of your local drycleaner. By purchasing DRY CLEAN ONLY clothing, you forcibly create a needed expense that doesn’t have to be a need. Sure, it would be nice to have your clothes freshly dry cleaned each week but this can be an area to save money in your budget.
What about those days when you are on the train, crowded with people and there is an announcement that there is going to be a lengthy delay. As your stomach starts voicing its displeasure to you (and the other patrons on the subway car) about the delay, you start thinking about the satisfying bag of chips or the delicious candy bar that you need after exiting the train. Sure those treats would be nice to have but why not think about reaching to the bottom of your bag for that package of crackers or granola bar that has been patiently waiting there for a day like this.
Let’s continue paying attention to wants vs. needs because they are very important. That being said, when going about our daily business making day to day purchases, let’s remember the nice to have’s category. I believe that paying attention to all three will help our budget and enable us to save more money.
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