Needs and Wants - What Are The Differences?

Last Update: June 20, 2021

It is not unusual to think of the following two phrases as being the same:

  • I Want Something
  • I Need Something

You can insert anything for that something. If you know the difference between a want and a need, that's awesome!. Even so, I'd love it if you continued to read my blog post as I have a request for you at the end.

A Tale Of Two Cars

I'd like to use cars to drive the point I want to make home. Let's say. you need to change your car and have about $60,000 to spend. Either in cash, or you can qualify for credit. Would you opt for a luxury car like a Mercedes or BMW near your price range? Or would you be happy to get a nice car that is not classed as a luxury like a Honda or Buick and spend for argument’s sake $35,000 instead?

You Earned It The $60K BMW It Is

OK, you have worked very hard to save your money and feel you need to reward yourself with a BMW. Congrats! You've made it.

Or have you? Not so fast.

A Honda Accord would cost you far less and even cost less to maintain. It will get you from A to B in comfort at a much lower cost. But what if your emotions got the better of you and the BMW won out?

Opportunity Cost - Opportunity Lost

What if an emergency arose and you didn't't have the money to pay for it? You needed to borrow that money and burden yourself with debt you could have avoided if you purchased the Honda instead of the BMW.

What if an opportunity arose for you to travel now that the pandemic is fading? But you don't have the funds to do that. Of course, you could borrow the money, but that would create a financial burden on you just the same.

When we focus on our wants instead of our needs, that kind of decision often results in a lost opportunity.

How To Distinguish Between Wants and Needs

  • When You Fulfill A Need You Solve A Problem
  • When You Fulfill a Want You Create A Potential Problem

I am not advocating not enjoying the luxuries in life. Just do so if all your needs have been met first and you can afford the luxury you desire.

It's about setting priorities as you drive forward in your journey in life.

Wealthy Affiliate Membership

Would you call this a need or want? I feel the answer is a no brainer, but I would love to hear you answer this question and share your reasons why.

All the best to you.


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Recent messages
Jocelyn30 Premium
Well defined Edwin,

I still drive my Honda Civic Si and loving it for it drives me to A to point B. grateful got car and treat it like BMW, LOL!

Premium for i must learn more things first, how can i go to premium plus if i don't know much about my premium yet,

When it need to upgrade, in able to get to my goal then that's the time i will go for Premium Plus, for now I'm ok to premium!

Thanks for sharing

NicholaJames Premium
Hi Edwin,

My Wealthy Affiliate membership is a need because it is valuable in helping me to create an online buisness. When it comes to cars, save up and buy one that you can afford, Why put yourself in debt for something that is a depreciating asset?

Great analogy! Thanks for sharing this valid post! Enjoy the rest of the week! Wishing you the very best!

Kind regards,
BarbaraN Premium
Well Edwin, I've spent a lifetime wrestling with wants and needs- and needs usually wins out. In this case, I could go for the BMW-after much self- persuasion, because I have a relative who has a BMW repair shop. But that is not my nature. I would be happy with the Honda. For me, a car is transportation. Something to get me from here to there.
But WA is one of a kind and to get where I'm going it definitely fits in the needs column. I'll add that premium is a need, but the plus is a want.
EdwinBernard Premium
Hi Barbara,

My thoughts exactly. Thanks for sharing.

CMacLellan Premium Plus
I just bought myself a new car last October. I could of financed something in the low 40s but instead opted for a car that cost in the low 20s. I typically drive to work Monday morning and park my car and don't get in it again until I go home Friday night as I am in my work vehicle all week. I couldn't justify spending the money.
My Wealthy Affiliate membership is a want right now as I am honestly not doing much with it right now.
EdwinBernard Premium
Hi Chuck,

Thanks for responding. I hope you are able to carve out some time on a regular basis to work on your online business, even if it is an hour a day. You made the right decision in your car choice.

Much success to you.

Newme202 Premium
I need it often overuse my wants Edwin
My needs are so driven that it is like a tinnitus all day long
I need to get it done to satisfy my next potential success
EdwinBernard Premium
Right on Simone! Glad to see you so focused. Thanks for commenting.

Newme202 Premium
You are always welcome, Edwin