Friday, January 28, 2011

Want -v- Need

It seems like everyone is feeling the pinch. I was reading Frugal Queen and she was complaining about how the price of everything was going up, and that she was regretting not planning ahead and stocking up on staples when the prices were low(er).  Although I have been stocking up when my staples were on sale as loss leaders, I do feel her pain!  I hate going grocery shopping, because the price of EVERYTHING has been on a steady march upwards with no end in sight. The good old days of having a whole shopping cart full of food and paying only $100 or so are long gone. . .

Just today, I had to fill up my husband's truck with gas, and put some gas in my older son's car as well, and burned a hundred dollar hole in my wallet! I remember before I was married and living in the Bay Area near San Francisco, my monthly gas bill for my commute back and forth to work ran under $50! Now, it costs more than that just to fill up one vehicle one time! And back then, I thought that was high, since I knew California always taxed gas at a higher rate than some other states.  In Texas where I live, gas prices are inching towards $3 a gallon. It is no wonder the cost of EVERYTHING is going up!

What all this means is that we all have to make hard choices and really differentiate between wants versus needs. If I don't need it to put food on the table or keep my family healthy, it is not a "need." I may "want" something today, but if I go ahead and get it, is it going to prevent me from getting what I "need" tomorrow?  Increasingly, this is becoming a choice all of us are making.  I've been noticing in the past year or so that I rarely see people at the grocery stores with full shopping carts.  A full cart used to be the norm, but I think it is increasingly becoming an exception these days.  Everyone is feeling the pinch, and everyone is having to make hard choices between thier needs and wants. 

It is really a vicious cycle.  Impulse purchases just are no longer a reality for most people these days.  At the same time, an abundance of such purchases were what made the economy hum.    I blame the current state of affairs on wasteful government spending all over the globe.  This is not just the fault of the United States, or England, or Europe, or any one country.  All the leaders who spent thier respective countries' budgets into the ground are all to blame.  And we are left holding the empty bag. . . Unless this whole bloody mess is somehow rectified, all we can do is buckle down and be vigilant on what and where we spend our hard earned income and hope and INSIST that governments everywhere will learn to do the same!

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