Need vs Want – A spending detox success

need vs want, spending detox, financial success

If you’d like to start at the very first spending detox post, you can find Part 1 here.

At the end of part 1, I mentioned I would share my process of how I created my Need vs. Want list so that I continued to have success with my spending detox. And here you are! I created this list perhaps 2 – 3 weeks into my detox after realizing that going on a spending detox for 6 months would mean I would have to spend money at sometime and needed to know how to do it properly.

Before I show you my need vs want list I need to share that I am doing this on my own. My husband fully supports me but the spending detox is purely my own. I’ve invited him to join me but I’ve completely left it up to him how he wants to play according to his own needs and wants.

I truly believe creating a need and want list will help you in your spending detox success. The beauty of them is that it is completely unique to you and your experience, and how you decide you want to live your life.

Now onto creating your Need vs Want list! Take your bills/transactions from the past couple of months (2-3 months worth) and categorize them into categories that make sense to you. There might be a few that you can’t categorize because they were a one time purchase, just put those under misc. With all your spending out and the open you can see where your money is going, what habits you’ve formed, and what shops you frequent the most.

Now ask yourself, are you serious about doing a spending detox? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to get cut-throat with your spending.

Start really analyzing your spending and asking yourself what is a need. Definition of need is “require (something) because it is essential or very important”. These are your basics, what you need to truly get by in life to help you feel human. Move the categories that you require so that you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, a way to get to work, a way to contact your loved ones, and perhaps a little icing on the cake like coffee once a week or whatever you need to still feel you.

Once you have your need list, everything else goes under want. Definition of want is “have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for.” Essentially it’s the trendy clothes and accessories, the new shoes for the night out, the treat on a bad day, new pjs for the children because “they were on sale!”. Absolutely everything that isn’t on your need list goes under want.

Here is mine:

Need vs Want List


  • mortgage
  • strata fees
  • property taxes
  • electrical bill
  • health insurance
  • car payments
  • gas
  • toll fees
  • mobile phone
  • daycare
  • groceries
  • internet
  • coffee
  • clothes for children
  • massages
  • professional haircuts
  • date nights (2/month)
  • dinner/lunch dates with friend (2/month)


  • fast fashion
  • clothes for children
  • toys for children
  • unscheduled lunches/dinners/coffee out with friends outside of 2/month
  • clothes for myself
  • makeup
  • knowledge based products
  • home decor
  • kindle/books
  • home accessories for the kitchen
  • nail polish
  • essential oils
  • stationary
  • kitchen towels

Make sure your need vs want list is always ready and available for you. Mine is on the note app on my phone, because I always have my phone with me. So no matter where I am I can easily turn to it when I’m feeling the urge to buy.

As I mentioned, each person will have their own unique needs vs want list. If Adam were to write one up I guarantee that his would look different than mine, even though we share the same house and bank account. And I’m perfectly okay with that. This is my list and I’m completely happy with mine. There is a sense of freedom that I feel when I look at it, I feel like I can breathe when it comes to my finances, which I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do.

With my needs vs want list I have the power to have a spending detox success. Now your turn!