Are all needs equal?

Everywhere there are articles and blog posts about evaluating needs vs. wants.  I have no doubt we’ve all convinced ourselves that a want was REALLY a need.  But are all needs equal?

When I lived in HomeTown, it wasn’t unusual to go out to the store for one or two things right when I realized I needed them.  Sometimes this led to shopping an extra time or two each week.  And, of course you’ve read the statistics on the extras that wind up in the cart when out shopping.

In SmallTown, there are few low cost options locally.  Often prices are 20-50% higher than the discount store 20 miles away.  I’ve found that in waiting to go to the discount store I have crossed things off my list, deciding I no longer needed them. Sort of like the old advice of waiting 24 hours to buy that impulse item…only I wait a week or two to buy what seemed to be necessities.

A good example is a mop.  Maybe you have never owned a mop and won’t understand this, but I grew up in a mop family.  I can count on one hand the times I saw anybody scrub a floor on hands and knees.  I could count on one hand the number of times I had scrubbed a floor…that is, before my mop broke one day.

I was so frustrated.  I was in a hurry to clean the floor when the part that squeezes the water out just quit working.  Now what?  I finished up the best I could and threw the broken mop in the garage.  Dan loves it when I do that.

A mop is not a high ticket item so I wasn’t even considering making a special trip for one. Before I got out of town again, the floor needed cleaned.  I remember thinking that just this once I’d scrub the floor with a rag and bucket.  I was amazed.  By the time I had finished the large floor the first part was dry…and clean?  WOW…I couldn’t believe the difference!

I still don’t have a mop.  I think it amazes my mother a bit.  And my sister thinks I’m crazy.  They just don’t realize that it really isn’t any more work and the end result is so much better.

There have been other things too…a table cloth (I realized there was one tucked away in a closet), kitchen tongs, a lint brush, seasoning blends and many others.

So next time you have that big list of things you NEED, think it over for a couple of extra days…you might be surprised at what you can cross off.

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Filed under Doing Without, In the Kitchen, Lists, Making Do

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