There's nothing wrong with spending money on stuff you want. It helps, however, to have a clear understanding of what exactly your wants and needs are. This way, you can prioritise your spending as you like. As your lifestyle changes, you may need to rethink the expenses you consider "needs".
Photo by NeilsPhotography
It's easy to convince ourselves that we need something that we can actually live without. A few years ago, for example, my car was totalled and I had to take public transportation for a while. I realised that living without my car was totally doable, even though I assumed it was a necessity.
This isn't to say I got rid of the car, but it was good to know that if I'm in a tight spot or just want to save some money, I could always sell it and things would be OK. In other words, I still want it, but I don't need it.
Finance site Pretend to Be Poor discusses this topic and offers a couple of suggestions for rethinking your idea of a need:
Get critical. Cultural norms and masterful marketing convince us that we need more everything! Better everything! Newer everything! I am in no way immune. Here's a silly but real example. Do I need to own a clutch purse and nude heels in order to attend weddings? Or is it fine to feign fashion cluelessness and show up with flip flops and a cross-body purse, as I did this summer? Get creative. People don't challenge anything in the budget that's deemed a need. But if you can bring that global perspective to bear, you'll start to squint out your blind spots. For us it was pricey date nights, outings with friends, and travel. We didn't give up these areas entirely -- they're too closely related to our values. We did find creative ways to cut back when we peeled away their privileged status as "needs".
Again, the idea isn't to define both so that you can rule out your wants completely. It's simply to get a better idea of your expenses so you can use your money as efficiently as possible: first on the things you need, then on the stuff you want most. For more detail, read the full post at the link below.
Can You Tell the Difference Between Want vs. Need? [Pretend to Be Poor]