[Author's note: it's very difficult to think of blog posts as I'm watching the final results show of "Dancing With the Stars."]
What do you need? What do you want? I think it's easy for people our age to confuse the two things sometimes. I need an oil change for my car. I want a new pair of shoes. I need to buy some laundry detergent. I want to go to Cedar Point.
For me, these needs vs. wants tend to merge over time. I don't use the word "need" correctly. I need some new sunglasses. I need to see that movie. I need to buy that new Glee karaoke game for the Wii.
Bargaineering.com suggests that you make a list of your expenses. Items like food, clothing, shelter, and transportation should be filed under "needs", and pretty much everything else is a "want."
The article then suggests that you prioritize your "want" list. Put things at the top that are important to you, whether that's donating to charity or playing on a sports team or supporting a hobby. Things near the top should reflect your interests and values. Things toward the bottom of the list should probably include (and I say probably, because I don't know what's important to you individually) expenses such as buying coffee, eating out, and various entertainment costs.
Making a list like this is the first step towards living on a budget. Even if you decide to cut down on just one expense, it's a great start. Learn where your money is going before you decide on a drastic overhaul of your budget!
[I'd like to give a special shout out to Hines Ward, the Steelers wide receiver and Dancing with the Stars champion! You deserve it!]
Stay awesome like Hines Ward,