Tag Archives: Needs vs wants

N = Needs

I work with adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. I teach them how to manage their money, pay bills and follow a budget.
One of the big lessons I teach is the difference between needs and wants. We talk about prioritizing bills. We talk about what it means to really NEED something not just want it.

Its a difficult concept to teach when it seems like everyone has so much stuff. Our culture here in the United States is so focused on things and acquiring more. How can a person be convinced they don’t “need” cable TV? How about “needing” a smart phone? Is it necessary to have the newest gadget or the latest style?

I try to reassure each student that survival is possible without access to 700 television stations and that humans lived for thousands upon thousands of years without the things we take for granted. Many of my students live on a very limited income and that makes it much more difficult to afford many bells and whistles….but that doesn’t stop them from wanting it all.

Each year a group of former students, that have “graduated” from my program, and I teach a breakout session at a conference specifically organized for people with disabilities. The students really enjoy sharing the knowledge they have learned. They also like being able to tell the conference goers that they have learned the difference between needs and wants.

One of my favorite student stories that I share whenever I get a chance is about a young woman I worked with several years ago. She lived independently in an apartment. One month she told me she was going to skip paying her electric bill so she could get cable! Most of my students can put the pieces together pretty quickly and they realize without electricity the young lady couldn’t even watch TV. They laugh…and hopefully they think before making such a decision themselves!!

The A – Z Challenge will run through April. Each day is a different letter and a different photo…I hope you all enjoy!