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Wants and Needs

Category: On the Web | Age Group: 11-13


Exploring wants and needs


Access to the video, “Wants and Needs” found at


Adolescents often find that there is a lot of peer pressure on them. At times, in order to keep up with their peers, they want things that will help them identify with their friends. In doing so, they often make the mistake of assuming that this item is a NEED rather than simply a WANT. It is important for them to recognize the difference between needs and wants as it will help them prioritize and spend their money accordingly. This skill will serve them well as adults.

  • Talk with your child about “needs”—what is a “need?” What are five things that they would say they need? Have them write them in a list.
  • Once they have written down these items, review each of them with your child. Talk about whether or not it truly is something they need or is it something they would like to have, that is, a want.
  • Then, together, watch the video at the link above and discuss the importance of knowing the difference between a need and a want. Talk about how knowing the difference—and thinking about the difference—can help them make good money decisions.
  • If your child gets an allowance, talk about whether an allowance should be used for needs, wants, or both.
  • Ask your child to make a list of five things that they “want.” Then talk about them and work with them to rank their “wants” from 1 to 5. Talk about trade-offs and why most people usually can’t have everything they want. They have to make choices and trade-offs. Talk about how they might get to where they could possibly get the thing they most want—or one of the things on their list.
  • Talk about how needs and wants are often different from person to person, family to family, and from country to country.