It can be difficult sometimes to differentiate between a need and a want. For example, some people feel they need a cell phone. That may be true on some levels, but on other levels, it is a want, even if you just want to have the convenience and/or safety of using it.
Our true needs – food, shelter, stuff like that – are likely to be met unless we live in a poverty striken country. Our wants, on the other hand, are a different story. I often say “What would life be if not to want?” because our wants drive so much of our behavior. Our wants are the food our egos need; our cars, our clothing, our homes, our cell phones etc…. Ascetics avoid attachment to material items so that they can focus their attention and energy on the spiritual side of their lives. That’s not for everybody, not everyone can live that life. So the rest of us need help discerning wants from needs, and then we need to make a choice.
Needing is basic, primal. Wanting is dreaming, wishing. Choosing is the act of deciding what outcome or consequence is desireable and/or acceptable. Choosing involves consideration; it is a way we can show love for family, friends, and causes when we choose to use our resources in beneficial ways or at least in ways that will not do harm to another.
Our financial position often determines how many wants we get to satisfy. For some people, they cannot accept their financial position and choose to pretend that it is greater than it is, and purchase too many things on credit. They are trying to fool everyone, including themselves. They choose to be slaves to their desires, despite consequences such as poor credit and the threat of bankruptcy.
Others fear that satisfying certain desires is careless, and instead hold resentment over their financial situation and those who affect it (spouses).
Life is choices, but you get to make them. There’s power and joy in that fact.