The One Indispensable Spending Guideline: Needs Vs. Wants

One spending guideline that is indispensable is identifying your needs versus your wants. Difficulty understanding this can result in either over-spending or over-saving. Ultimately, it can reflect a lack of clarity around our values around money. If you feel stumped by this concept, or aren’t sure how your spending behavior measures up, don’t worry! We’re going to parse out the details right here:

Needs vs. Wants

Many of us are familiar with differentiating between needs and wants. It’s a skill we cultivate throughout our lifetimes. Although we sometimes run into pitfalls, we are ultimately making thousands of decisions a day – it’s important to have a little compassion for ourselves when we’re thinking about our financial decision making.

So, what makes a need, a need and a want, a want? Basic necessities you need to take care of yourself and live with a certain degree of comfort are needs. Nutritious food, sound housing, quality clothes and shoes, and things like electricity, car insurance, etc. definitely fall into the need category. We also have needs related to caring for ourselves. This is where things can get tricky – many people have difficulty differentiating between needs and wants here. When considering a purchase, it can be helpful to try and identify the underlying need. For example, if you want to spend money on a day-long spa retreat, but what you really want is some quiet time to yourself, there are likely other ways you could meet that need. Especially if it’s a matter of staying in your budget or not, sussing out the need underlying the want can be very helpful.

Over-spender, or Over-saver?

You may have some idea of whether you fit into either category. If you’re not sure what over-saving is, I recommend reading my article about it – it could be enlightening. When it comes to identifying needs vs. wants, over-spenders and over-savers tend to behave differently. Over-spenders frequently feel every purchase is filling a need, while over-savers tend to see every potential purchase as a want. In both cases, these spending habits can cause problems. Over-spenders can find themselves without important savings accounts or in debt, while over-savers can hold off on essential purchases like medical expenses. Both behaviors result in a deficit of self-care. To really take care of ourselves financially, we need to find a midpoint, where we have our needs met, and a few of our wants too. Someone who has really good thinking about this is Vicki Robin, who speaks poetically about finding your “enough” in Your Money or Your Life. You can read my book review here.

I hope these thoughts will help you examine your own spending behaviors. If you’re interested in a little more self care, check out my Facebook page for Financial Self Care Fridays, all month at 8am PST via FB Live. I’m providing prompts and accountability to help you develop a financial self care habit. I hope you’ll join me!

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Angela

Image by: Artem Beliaikin

Integrate Your Creativity and Business Sense

Integrate Your Creative and Business Sides: At Peace With Money

I enjoy busting the myth that artists can’t be business people, and vice versa! I truly don’t think the two ways of being are mutually exclusive. However, I do agree that integrating the two takes some effort. That’s why, in this month of habits, I want to talk about how we can establish habits that address both our business and creative needs.

The most important thing solopreneurs can do to serve their business on a financial level is to look at your numbers once a week. Using these numbers to assess business success, needs, and changes to be made is just good business practice. This should be a regular habit, but it doesn’t need to be devoid of creative energy.

Instead of separating your business-owner side from your creative side, let the two aspects inform each other.  Think of ways to engage your creative side while looking at numbers. Try putting on music, or get the wiggles out beforehand by dancing. If you’re a visual person, record or track your finances using a bullet journal full of doodles, color-coding, and stickers.  Create a fun visual chart to map your progress that you can color in as you save, pay off debt, or work towards a business goal. 

Looking at your numbers regularly doesn’t have to be bland or austere. It’s your business, you decide how you do things! Keep your creative and business sides equally engaged. I believe that’s key to the life of a creative solopreneur. I hope this gives you a little inspiration to start a weekly numbers habit, and infuse your business finances with creative spark! If you need some guidance around this or are interested in chatting with me, look at my Services page and book a call!

Angela

The Creative Exchange