How to make your Budget work: Wants vs Needs

When it comes to budgeting or planning your money, defining your wants vs needs plays a big role. It is extremely important to have a budget for those needs first before moving into your wants.

Here’s a rough list of your needs:

  • A place to live (may it be owned and still be paying mortgage or renting)
  • Food to eat (the basic 3 x a day and no eating out)
  • Utilities (water, gas, and electricity)
  • Transport
  • Mobile phone
  • Health and personal care products (basic ones to keep you have a good personal hygiene)
  • Clothes (enough number to last you a week or two/ not branded)
  • Baby products if you have a lil one (milk, diaper, etc)

While here is a rough list of your wants:

  • Eating out
  • Owning a car (and all the expenses that goes with it like its COE and maintenance)
  • Pricey skin products or going to a skin specialist
  • Branded clothing
  • Latest Mobile phone

When it comes to budgeting, you must first and foremost cover the expenses of everything under your NEEDS list before jumping to your wants. What’s great about budgeting though is you aren’t strictly follow it. It’s like a guide but not necessarily deprive you to spend.

As a matter of fact, we do go over our budget ourselves and we’re okay with it! There’s other months were we over spend on our “eating out budget” which we compensate and be more mindful the following month by choosing to go on nature trips rather than a trip to a mall where we still get to spend some fun time with the family but spend only a fraction.


I used to be a mall rat. I remember when I was on my first job in Manila, despite my work being on nightshift (9pm-6am), I still always find myself in the mall by 10am. Doing what? Well, window shopping (at first) then sees a “SALE”. Pretend to think if I really want it while sipping my overpriced coffee, then eventually decides (as always) that the sale was too good to be true and if I don’t buy now, it will be gone by tomorrow. That’s how I decide and off i go with my new purchase on hand happily going back home for a quick nap before I work my ass again during the night to pay for that “SALE” I’ve just bought. I even proudly tell others before that I can’t leave the mall without buying anything. Such a lame excuse. hahaha

Sounds familiar or do I resonate yourself or someone you know? That’s the “before-me” which I may not be very proud of now but grateful that I’ve passed that pace, learned from it, and moved on living life, financially wiser.


You might be thinking I’m not a mall rat anymore nowadays. WRONG! I still love the malls and even it’s aroma which I felt I need to smell once in a while. hahaha.(do you feel that way too?) Anyways, I still do go to malls, and now with my daughters, could be more trickier, right?

Well, not really as we’ve come to be disciplined enough to make sure we’ve got a specific agenda whenever we go on mall trips. Though we may eat out, be assured that that’s on the budget too! And as for our kiddos, they know they’ll have to wait for Christmas and their own birthday so they can pick a toy or whatever they “WANT”. Other than that, when they say “I WANT xxxxx”, my answer would always be “I think I heard the word “WANT” when you said that sentence…hahaha

Learning to spend wisely isn’t being frugal nor depriving yourself from your hard earned money, as long as you make sure you budget your income wisely, be a responsible adult by providing first all the “needs” you and your family needs, then there’s no harm on spending your extra $$$ on whatever “wants” you and your family desire.

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