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Kids think they need chocolates, pizza, video games, and own mobile and mobile time but parents just don’t agree. How do you decide whether it’s a want or a need?  What is the difference between Needs and Wants? Why do parents say No or Money doesn’t grow on trees? Is your shopping trip with your parents like the Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmies? Money is limited and depends on how much one earns and there are expenses

So let’s start with making a list of things would like to have. My list when I was a kid was something like given below. What is your list like?

  • a bicycle
  • Teddy Bear
  • Dance class
  • Board games:
  • Chocolates
  • video games
  • Music CD
  • Mobile phone

Now let’s try to help Arvind and Tanya in deciding what they need and they should get.

Arvind in crying as he hungry, he says he needs Toy. But what does he need – food or toy?

What does Arvind need as he is hungry : food or toys Needs and Wants

What does Arvind need as he is hungry: food or toys

Tanya wants to play in the snow – She says she needs snowshoes and a Hairband. What do you think she should get? Why?

What does Tanya need to play in snow shoes or hairband, Needs and Wants

What does Tanya need to play in snow -shoes or hairband

 If you don’t teach your kids how to manage money, somebody else will. Is that a risk you want to take? 

Teach your kids how to handle money now, and they won’t end up with money regrets later on in life. You can give them the head start you wish you’d had. 

Gift them a book to teach about Basics of Money. To know more Click here

Gift them a Workbook to start talking about Money. To know more Click here

I Want vs I Need

Kshitij was crying again. He wanted the Ben10 toy from McDonald Happy Meal. He already had two. He wanted the third one. His Mother said No.

Meghna had gone shopping with her mother to West Side. There she saw a new pair of jeans. She started pestering her mother, “Mummy I need these jeans. They are so cool, so rocking. I can wear this to Tanya’s birthday party.” Her mother tried explaining, “You already have so many of them, you don’t need another one.”

Ishaan came running to her father, “Dad I need a sweater, its winter and my old sweater is no longer fitting me.” “Yes dear, we shall buy it when we go shopping this weekend.”

Aryan had gone to watch a movie with his parents. Once the movie got over, he asked his parents, “Mummy, Papa I am hungry, I need to drink CocaCola”. “No”, his mother  said, “You don’t need CocaCola, what you need is a glass of water and some food like Dosa. Let’s go to the food court and take something from there.”

In all the above conversations, you saw that the kids are saying “I want”, “I need”. Is there any difference between needs and wants?

So what is Difference between Needs and Wants?

Needs are things that we cannot live without. They are essential for us, such as:

  • Food
  • Place to live
  • Clothes.
  • School
  • Transportation.

Wants are things that we desire now, at that moment. Right now one wants a new pair of jeans; when one sees a new pencil box, one needs it. There is no limit to our wants. When a want is fulfilled, another one will come up. It is great to have other jeans but one can live without it, just as one can live without things  such as:

  • That dress like Barbie.
  • Toys
  • Chocolates
  • Mobile
  • Xbox

Is Food a Need or a Want

Aryan is hungry, he wants something to drink and eat. We need food to eat and if we do not eat food for long, we’ll become weak.

Why do we need food? Cars are great to travel. We can go far off places. But, the car needs petrol to run. Our body is a machine like a car, it too needs food to run well. If we don’t give petrol to the car, it will not run; if we don’t give food to the body, it will become weak. What if, instead of petrol, we put water in the car, will it run? No, right?

As a human being, we have lots of choices in terms of food. There are different kinds of food, roti, subzi, rice, dal(pulses), eggs, vegetables, cheese, butter, dosa, idli, pasta, noodles, french fries, pizza.  While French fries, Maggi is tasty, they are not healthy and do not provide us with the nutrients we need. We need to eat a balanced diet.

What about eating ice cream?  Ice creams are so tasty, I love having them. But then, I don’t have to eat it to live. Food is food whether you eat a three-course meal in a five-star restaurant or eat roti and subzi at home.

Cola tastes good. Drinking a Fanta or Pepsi makes us feel good. But we don’t need the soft drink to survive. Water is good. It is said that we should drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. Milk and juice have calcium, vitamins and minerals that our body needs.

So, Aryan’s father was right. Aryan can drink water and then eat Dosa or McDonald burger. Ice cream maybe.

So eating Dosa or McDonald burger is a need but drinking Pepsi is a want.

Are Clothes a need or a want?

Meghna wanted to buy a new pair of jeans and Ishaan, a new sweater. Is there any difference in their request.

We need clothes to cover our bodies, to protect it from heat and rain. We wear clothes according to the season. In summers, we wear bright cotton clothes while in winter we wear woollen clothes.

How many clothes can we wear at one time? Only one dress, right? Meghna has many jeans; one more jeans would fill her cupboard, but even if she does not buy it, that is okay. She can survive.

Ishaan has to have a sweater. If he does not get one, he might fall sick and miss his school.

So Ishaan sweater is a need and Meghna jeans is a want.

Are Toys/video games a Need or Want?

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy goes a popular saying.

It is important to play as

And Kshitij asking for McDonald toy was a want and not a need.

Why do parents say No or Money doesn’t grow on trees?

Money in the house is limited and there are many things parents have to spend it on. And you have to realise that parents love you and want the best for you.

Child: “Can I have five hundred rupees to go to the cinema?”
Father: “Five hundred rupees?! That’s too expensive! Money doesn’t grow on trees you know!”

Mother: “If you want to buy a new Smartphone, you will need to find a job and save up for it. Money doesn’t grow on trees – you will appreciate something more if you have worked for it!”

News channel “People will vote for those with higher wages and lower taxes, but they must realise that government money doesn’t grow on trees”

Money doesn’t grow on trees means that money is limited. It is not growing in a tree where parents can just go and get it. Most parents earn their income by working for it. People work for another person, a business or the government – or they run their own business.
Is your shopping trip with your parents like this The Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmies

Earning Money

Education, skills and career choices decide how much a person is paid. Usually, people with more education and skills earn more money than people with less education and fewer skills. Hence parents often say, “Study well so that you can get a good job”.

The income of a person depends on his/her knowledge, i.e. what he or she has studied and how he is using it

  • Did he/she study engineering or he/she studied medicines to become a doctor?
  • What talents does the person have and how he or she uses it? For example, Sachin Tendulkar started playing cricket for India when he was only 14 years old.

Can you write about what you want to be when you grow up and find about that job?

  • What is the typical day for your favourite job?
  • What skills are needed for the job?
  • What training, education is required for the job.

Spending Money and Budget

Coming back to Parents earn money through their job or business. They have to think about many expenses. Most of the money is spent on meeting the needs of food, clothes, house, education, transport, helper services. The expenses can be divided into the following categories:

Fixed expenses: Regular expenses which are of the fixed amount such as rent or the maid’s salary.

Variable expenses: These expenses come up regularly, but with varying amounts, for example, electricity bill, money spent on petrol for vehicles.

Incidental expenses: Expenses that arise because of some incident, such as when one falls sick or there is a marriage or birthday party one needs to attend.

Parents have to make sure that they are able to pay for what one needs before using the money for things that one wants. Technically this is called as making a budget. Budgeting involves understanding how much money you earn and spend over a period of time. On basis of importance and urgency, demands can be categorised as important, urgent, Not Urgent and not Important as shown in the table below.

Urgent Not Urgent
Important Urgent and Important-
Do it
Important but not
urgent-Plan to do it
Not Important Not Important Urgent but Not
important: Do if there
is spare money
Not urgent, Not
important: Ignore

Can you Help Mrs and Mr Pandit to decide where they should spend?

Mrs and Mr Pandit have the following demands to meet:
1. Purchase a sweater for Mr Pandit father as winter is coming
2. Daughter is asking for a bicycle.
3. Son is demanding Sony PlayStation. He already has XBox
4. They have to attend a cousin’s marriage, next month. Buy a gift for her.
5. Get house painted. They had done painting 2 years ago.

Demand Urgent Important Action
Sweater for Mr Pandit father
Daughter’s bicycle
Son’s PlayStation
Cousin’s marriage
House Painting

Money is limited, it just does not grow on trees and there are so many expenses. The idea here is not to scare you or kids but to make you aware that parents have lots of expenses and they are providing for them as best as they can. Money is limited, but there are so many things to spend on. Therefore, one has to spend money wisely. Before we buy a thing, we have to realize whether it is a ‘need’ or a ‘want’.

Game on Needs and Wants

Help on deciding what one needs in different situations

So can you share your story of what you demanded but later realized that it was not that important? Parents can you share how you let children learn about Needs and wants.

Why should you Teach your Child about Money?

One has to know the Building blocks of money. 5 Pillars of Personal Finance are (1) Earning, (2) Spending, (3) Borrowing, (4) Saving and Investing, and (5) Protection or Insurance.

Schools focus on scholastic and professional skills, but not on financial skills. Most people never study the subject of money. They go to work, get their paycheck, balance their checkbooks, and that’s it. On top of that, they wonder why they have money problems. Few realize that it’s their lack of financial education that is the problem.

Try asking kids to answer the questions on the Basics of personal finance.

Are you pampering your kids and want the kids to be just happy and stress-free? Parental wealth will get them through for some time but do they have the life skills needed to stay afloat?  What are you doing so that the raja betas and rani bitiya’s are able to survive in this world without being a burden on you and your finances? Our article covers How not to raise children who are Bored, woke, and high maintenance? Teach About Money

Also, check out Warren Buffet’s Secret Millionaires Club an animated Channel on YouTube to help children understand money. The video talks about saving for rainy day.

Free Online Games to Teach Children about Money

Learning Engaging them through fun games can be a good way to get your child interested in money concepts. Teaching younger children needs to be fun and you as a parent need to ensure the money concepts are simple and not verbose in nature.

Nurture your child’s curiosity with immersive activities that make learning about Money an adventure!

Play games to understand our currency, Indian Rupee Notes, Banking, Credit Card, Spending, Needs and Wants. Know about the Games here.

Free Online Games to teach children about Money

Free Online Games to teach children about Money

Related Articles:

Books on Money, Games for Children

How did you learn about Needs and Wants? How did you explain to your children about Money?


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