The Recovering Debt Junkie’s Mantra: “Do I Really Need to Buy This?”

Gary North

When you are driving on a road trip, and the gasoline warning light goes on, accompanied by a bell, you will soon need to buy gasoline. Life has few warning signals as powerful.

Most items are not in the same category as this. You can usually defer a purchase a little longer.

One reason not to defer is that you can buy something at a sharp discount. But will you really use it later? If you are not sure, do not buy it.

“Do I really need to buy this?” The habit of asking yourself this question is basic to getting out of debt.

You may want it. Do you need it? Probably not.

As your disposable incomes falls because you have mentally spent money on tithing and paying down debt, the ratio between needs and wants must grow. That which seemed like a need before must be re-classified as a want.

If you don’t re-classify your buying habits, you will not be able to stick with the program. You will not stay on your “diet.”

You already own most of the things you need. Only rarely does a new need pop up.

Take gasoline. Is it a need? Yes. Is it a continual need? No. Cut down on your driving. Schedule your shopping so that you buy the week’s goods in one trip.

All of this requires budgeting. But, even more important, it requires a new pattern of behavior. To help you make the necessary transition, keep asking yourself: “Do I really need to buy this?”


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