UNITED STATES─If there is one thing I have learned in recent months it is how to be better with my money. I’ve come to the realization that just because I want something does not necessarily mean I need it. I know this sounds bad, but this pandemic might have been one of the best things that could have happened for me. Why? It has allowed me to save money and save a lot of it. I know myself just like so many others received that stimulus check from the government and my funds went DIRECTLY into my savings account.

I saved more than half of those funds and used the rest to pay bills and keep myself afloat during these unpredictable times. Yes, my hours were cut at my place of employment, but the opportunity to still have a job when so many people lost their job made me relieved. However, I want to have a conversation about NEEDS vs. WANTS. Do I have to really explain the difference between the two for everyone? In case some are uncertain, let me break it down for you.

A NEED is something you must have in order to survive: housing, food and clothing are such things. A WANT is something you desire: designer clothing, electronics, jewelry, etc. In essence a WANT brings you happiness, whereas a NEED ensures that you survive. I know it sounds simple, but so many people get so wrapped up in what they think they know that it is not as easy to understand as one would hope. Just venturing out into the public for the first time in months, I saw people purchasing 50 and 60 inch TVs, people purchasing jewelry and spending money on high-end luxury items.

Now I know some of you are going to say why do you care what other people do with their money? Well because we’re in a pandemic America and because of that not only are some industries on the verge of disappearing, many people lost their jobs and our currently living on unemployment. Think about that for a second. You are on unemployment and received an extra $600 since April up until the end of July. That’s a lot of money people, money that allows you to put a dent in your expenses or monthly bills. I’m not on unemployment and I didn’t get that luxury because I work in an essential industry where the service provided is never-ending.

As a result, it opened my eyes a bit too how people spend money. Yes, when you have money it sometimes burns a hole in your pocket. You want to spend it, even though you know you don’t need it. You purchase the item and feel good at the moment, but an hour or a few hours later you’re regretting that purchase, it’s what people call buyer’s remorse. Think of it, it is money that could have been better spent elsewhere. Perhaps paying off the car note, paying towards your mortgage, something you desperately need for your home, towards your retirement or wait for it: a vacation by chance.

Things are just things, and I’ve noticed many bring you joy for a temporary relief, but once that moment leaves the mindset and body then what? Exactly, most people don’t have an answer to or for that question and that is a big problem if you ask me.

Written By Zoe Mitchell