I recently had a discussion with a friend about her frustration with her budget. She said that there was nothing else that could be cut from the budget. I looked at the budget and found that there were things that could be removed. I said she could shut off the cable and internet; she said that she needs the internet, and cable is only a couple of dollars. I mentioned that her family could end their Netflix subscription; she said that she would not have anything to do when she is home alone. I said that she could get rid of her dog; and she said no, he is a part of the family. I said that she could stop using the air conditioner, once again, no. I said that that her and her husband could use their personal spending money to pay down debt; she said that she could not have fun.
She realized that there are things that she was not willing to cut from her budget. This brings me to my point: she has her wants and needs all screwed up. How are your wants and needs defined? Do you “need” the internet; do you have to eat out once a week, do you have to rent that movie for your family? You do not need any of these things. A need is defined as something you require for you and your family to live (as in stay alive). This includes food, shelter, basic clothing, and basic transportation (a huge SUV does not fall into this category; do not try to justify it). By realizing what you truly need you can start to make proper decisions to accomplish your family’s long term goals.
I am not saying that you should get rid of the internet, cable, your dog, or anything else that is not a need. The only time you should get rid of “wants” is if you cannot afford them or to reach long term goals like getting out of debt. I do want you to realize, though, that many times when you say you have no other options you are really saying that you are not willing to take those other options. You always have many options. Finally, consider, is your unwillingness to take some options based on your immaturity? If you are able to overcome your immaturity in this aspect then you are well on your way to living a successful life.