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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wants vs. Needs

I just had a conversation with my great aunt and mother about what people consider necessary these days. It is amazing what we think we can and cannot live without. The internet would be a very good example. Here I sit using it to write to you, but would anyone miss me if I didn't have internet access? Doubtful. I know several people that can barely afford groceries, but they manage to have internet access, cable, cell phones and other "necessities."

Basic human needs include shelter, food, clothing and water. Anything else and it is a "want." Let's take a look at the things we don't really think about these days. Do we really need special shampoo, soaps, lotions, perfumes, flavored toothpastes, scented detergents, etc, etc, etc - this list could go on forever. The truth is we could use baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and numerous other natural products that are very inexpensive and do a better job than some of the processed junk we use.

For the next few days, try an experiment with me. Look at where your money is going. When you pick something up at the store, take a second look. Is it something you really truly must have in order to live?

One way to think about it is to consider what people in poor countries live with and without. Do they use mint flavored whitening toothpaste? Heck, they are probably lucky to own a toothbrush. I am not asking you to give everything up because I probably won't, but at least start thinking about it.

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