Combat the "I Need It" Attitude

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

The economy is poor, but that's not the only reason that people are in debt. Other factors play a huge role in the circulating debt that swarms above the homes of America, and one of them is the "I need it" attitude. It's not easy to avoid; there are messages everywhere that promote items and convince us that we need them. However, our ticket to debt freedom is only given to us when we learn to prioritize our needs.


What We Really Need

There are basics and then there are luxuries, yet today's America wants the luxuries. There is something that disturbs many people when they cannot keep up with the Joneses. Yet, it's not the Joneses with whom we must keep up anymore. Years ago we were measuring our acquisitions by our neighbors' claims. Now, in the age of media, we must keep up with not only the Joneses but the Californians, the New Yorkers, and the other Cosmopolitans.

Try this awareness activity: list all the commercials on TV in a one hour period. Label each item which the commercial was promoting. Then, label each as necessity or luxury. Keep in mind that air fresheners, hair coloring, and prepared foods are all luxuries.

When We Really Need It

New floors are a necessity, at times. When the carpet has holes worn in it, is unraveling, or no longer resembles its original state it is time for a new carpet. However, because the new style is Berber and your living room sports high pile does not make this a necessary purchase. Instead, keep in mind what you'd like and wait until the luxury becomes a necessity.


Our impatience hurts our wallets when we see the items advertised on TV and in magazines. Lures like no money down and deferred payments make the temptation even worse.

Why We Really Need It

Ask yourself why you want something before you buy it. Be honest; no one will know your answer except yourself. Is this something that I truly need? How many times will you use it? How long will it keep its value? Is there something else I want more? If I don't buy it now, will I still want it in three months?

Important to your answers is the influence of the media upon your desires. Ask yourself if you recently saw an ad on TV or in a magazine for the product for which you're longing. Did someone you know just purchase it? What made it pop in your head as the newest want on your list? By realizing the catalyst for your desire you may be better able to understand your spending habits.


Ultimately, the goal is to control and curb spending. Not only does overspending hurt a bank account but it clutters a home and takes a large chunk of time to deal with it. Instead, focus on the true needs of life: happiness and the basic essentials needed to live. There are so many in the world without these things. If you take the time to look at them you'll realize that the designer sweater isn't all that important; the one you have is more than what others have.

Woman frustrated with bills

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at

September 26, 20060 found this helpful

I think the most important thing is to develop our own minds and our own good taste. I wonder at the folks who hunger for a baronial lifestyle. I have a taste for old things,too - but my things are really old & BARGAINS - rather than knockoffs. (And they retain their value, too.) We all should try to make our homes comfortable and pleasant places - but extraneous electronic gadgets at premium prices won't do it...And what's with DVD "collections"? How many times can you watch a movie, anyway? Most of this is what used to be called "keeping up with the Jones's" - or conspicuous consumption - "I spend because I CAN - ha, ha!" It used to be snidely called nouveau riche - because older money knew how to maintain their fortunes!

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October 24, 20120 found this helpful

When I read "I need it" It brought back an embarrassing memory of a night in my youth. I was at a jewelry party with my boss lady. I didn't know the hostess. While in her kitchen I noticed she had a small container with tiny cups on top of her refrigerator in a lovely turquoise color( a favorite of mine). Without thinking I blurted out "I need that" and she heard me and said I could have it. I didn't mean I really wanted it, just a terrible habit I had when I saw something I liked. She insisted that I take it and wrapped it up for me.That cured me right then and there. I don't remember ever saying "I need" something since that night. GG Vi

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October 25, 20120 found this helpful

Your are so very right about everything that you spoke of. Seems like instant gratification is what most people "think" they need in order to live. It's such a shame that no one wants to save/wait till things are needed instead of wanted. People need to remember that...what it really just "things" of material. When everything is all said and done, none of it matters. It wont keep you warm, happy, help take care of you, or leave you with anything. Material items are not what gives one love, happiness, or memories. Stop and think before you "spend what you usually don't have" and make the wisest choice!

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