Wants vs Needs Challenge

After c hecking out Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s blog Making Money Make Sense I stumbled upon a blog post called Wants vs Needs. You may know her from Till Debt Do Us Part. Simply put and blunt, Gail explained that we all believe that everything we buy is a need, but in fact most often these purchases are wants. So I did a bit of challenge myself to see what kind of purchases I was making. Were they all needs? or were most of them frilly purchases that I could do without aka wants.

What you should do: Write your own list of your week, 2-week (however long you want) expenditures. Figure out if they are wants vs needs. Look over them again and make sure your needs really are needs and not in fact wants. Then evaluate how you are spending your money. Could you have made lunch more that week instead of buying food out? It’s definitely a great way to really think about how you are spending your money. You can be pretty surprised how all the little things add up.

Here’s a breakdown of my spending for a week (don’t judge me on any of this)


  • WANT-Bulk Barn-$1.56
  • NEED-Metro-$3.00-Used Checkout 51 to get $2 off that Cereal..btw
  • NEED-TTC Fare-$3.00


  • NEED-Bought some TTC Tokens-7 tokens for $18.55
  • WANT-LCBO-$18 Bought myself some Shock Top Beer & a bottle of wine for my mom


  • WANT-Went to Il Bun Ji-$23 for 5 beers, Bibimbap, mussels, popcorn and fruits (I’ll be writing a review about this awesome place soon btw!)
  • WANT-Smoke’s Poutine-$7 (I was super lame and bought traditional…who does that?)


  • NEED-Bought TTC Tokens-$18.55 (All those weekend outings cost me some additional coin)


  • WANT-Bulk Barn-$1.80


  • NEED-Bought throat lozenges since I’ve been battling a cold for 3 weeks. $4.50 


  •  WANT-Went out for lunch at work-$11 (I could have eaten my packed lunch)


WANTS- 6 purchases

NEEDS-5 purchases

Basically you may be wondering, how are you even alive, aren’t you buying food? My life is a bit less studenty right now since I have been living with my parents, who I love to death. They have been letting me live rent free and feeding me since January so they have helped me reduce a lot of my costs. Additionally, I’m pretty happy with my almost 50/50 split on wants vs needs, and felt like I was really fair when I determined a want vs need. For the most part, transportation has been my most common need lately, but I have been fortunate enough to get rides to work with my cousin since January, I just take the TTC home. I also managed to take the TTC all the way home from Christie and Bloor on Saturday, saving myself a ton of money in cab fare (would have cost me a good $25 dollars 1 way probably).

Also I’m wondering where my extra TTC tokens went…pretty sure my wallet eats tokens.


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