Clover Cents: Needs and Wants

February 5, 2021

This video walks students through the differences between wants and needs when it comes to spending money.  It will be helpful to print off the student worksheet to use in conjunction with the video. 

This is one in a series of nine instructional videos in the Clover Cents series that helps students to understand basic properties of money and how to manage it.   



Video Transcript

Welcome to Money Management Needs and Wants. My name is Deb Barrett. I am a senior extension educator with Michigan State University. This is a slide of our Justice For All poster, which represents Michigan State University's commitment to being open to all for our programming and our resources. Today, we are going to talk a little bit about needs and wants. And I'm going to begin with reviewing the list of items that you are going to need handy. The want and need signs or two 8.5 by 11 inch pieces of paper and the needs and wants list handout. You may also want to have one 3 foot piece of string, yarn or rope. And you need four different colored highlighters, preferably yellow, green, blue, and orange. If you do not have access to highlighters, having some different colored pens, pencils, or markers available would be very helpful. And in addition to this, if you would also like to have some scrap paper and pen or pencil available just to make notes on as we go through this lesson, you would probably find that helpful. I would like to first define the word spending for you before we talk about needs and wants. When we use our money or you use your money to buy goods and services that you need or want, that is called spending. It's sort of important to know what we want our money to do and how we spend our money so that we do it wisely and pay attention that we still have money left at the end of a period of time. Needs and wants are two categories of things that we spend our money on. I want you to understand that a need is something that we purchase that has a fixed cost to it. It is usually a necessity. They are things that we must have to maintain life, such as food, clothing, shelter. Wants are things that might be more flexibly priced. They are nice to have or you want to have. They are things that we think might make our lives easier or more fun. So as we get into this lesson, I would like you to think about what did you spend your money on in the last two weeks? Did you spend your money on things that were needs or were they more luxuries and fun items? They were wants. There are no right or wrong answers. It's up to you to answer that for yourself. Now that you have thought about what you recently spent your money on, let's do an activity. For this slide and for this part of the presentation, you are going to need the needs and wants list. It looks similar to what this image on this slide looks like. As we work through this part of the lesson. I also want to remind you that each of us have different lifestyles. We have different priorities. So each of us are going to see a need or a want differently from one another. And that's okay. There are no right or wrong answers. If you happen to be doing this activity with more than just yourself, or you have an opportunity to share this activity with others, do not be surprised if what one person indicates is a need that maybe it might just be a want for someone else. So a few details with this slide about need or want. This is the point where you're going to need the two pieces of paper. The one that says need and the one that says want. If you're going to use a string, piece of yarn or a rope to make a line on the ground. You're going to set your need piece of paper on the left-hand side of the line as you're looking at it. And the want piece of paper on the right hand side of that line. As pictured here. This is what I did on my carpet. You might do something similar. If not, then use a piece of paper and create the same sort of thing for yourself as we go through this. This slide also gives a couple of examples. A need might be transportation, but a want might be a brand new car or pick up. They both are going to provide transportation, but one is much more of a luxury than just the basic need of needing transportation. Another example might be shoes. If we just need a pair of shoes to keep our feet covered and be safe, having designer sport shoes is much more of a luxury and a want. So hopefully that gives you an idea of what we're headed for. So this may be a point where you want to pause the video. And you are going to take the needs and wants list. And you're going to go through each of those items and you're going to decide are each of those items a need for you or a want for you. And you can either make notes or if you had the chance to print, you can circle the needs or wants on that list. But you're going to have to be able to keep track of what your need list is and what your wants are as we go through this. So hopefully you have some notes and you worked your way through your list. And you have an idea in your mind of what want types of spending you have and what need type of spending you participate in. And I want you to look at that list and think about, are there any other things that you spend your money on, additional needs or wants that you would like to add to your list at this time or to make some notes on before we do some reflection. Again, if you need to pause the video to be able to do that for a few minutes. That's fine. And then we're going to move to reflection. For the reflection part of this activity, I want you to have access to those four highlighters. And if you do not have highlighters, than let's at least get the pens, pencils, and markers out. Because you're going to have to take some notes and do some things. The first thing that we're going to do is I want you to look at your list. And I would like you to highlight the items in yellow that you have to save for, for a short period of time to be able to buy. At this point, it does not matter if it is a need or a want. But if you need to save to be able to purchase that for a short period of time, highlight it in yellow. If you need to pause the video and between the different colored highlighters and these slides, that is fine. We are going to move on to the second color, which is green. I want you to look at your list again. And I would like you to highlight the items in green that you currently have enough money to be able to purchase. Pause the video if you need to, and browse your list. We are then going to move on to the blue highlighter. Again, I want you to look at your entire list of needs and wants. And I want you to highlight the items in blue that are free. There is no charge to obtain them. What needs and wants do you have that are free of charge? And then we're going to move on to the fourth color, which is the orange highlighter. And as you look over your list one more time, I would like you to highlight in orange those items that are going to require some long-term saving. Or it's going to be quite awhile before you have enough funds available to be able to purchase. That gives you a little bit of an idea of what is ahead. And as you think about what you spend your money on, What are your individual needs, what are your wants? And how do you plan? Think about having goals and a budget. And thinking about how you're going to obtain those items that you would like to have. As we wrap up this lesson on needs and wants, I want to remind you that knowing what you are spending your money on and why you are purchasing things are important to money management. A need is something that you have to have to maintain and sustain life. And a want are usually those fun or more luxurious or would like to have sorts of things. If you have gone through today's lesson and you have some questions, you are more than welcome to contact us. And you can submit your questions to the email that is shared in the PowerPoint, which is Thank you.

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