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College Wants vs. Needs
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Student Contributor
Posted April 21, 2016
There are things we need in life, and there are things that we simply want. Sometimes, the line between the two can get a bit fuzzy, especially in college. A “need” is something that is necessary for a person to survive. A “want” is something a person desires but can live without. Occasionally we forget that things we say we “need”, are actually a want. We say we “need” the newest pair of shoes, the best car on campus, and the world’s most popular video game, but are those actually necessities?
Want: Smartphone
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A smartphone might seem like a need in today’s technological society, but it is actually a want. If you did not have a smartphone, you would be slightly more disconnected and you would still be able to survive. You might find that not having a smartphone could benefit your mental health!
Need: Shelter
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Everyone needs shelter. It protects us from harsh weather, it keeps us warm at night, and it helps us stay healthy. Having a roof over our heads is vital to survival and safety. However, the roof doesn’t need to be huge, fancy, or expensive. We need enough to live comfortably, and anything more is technically a want.
Want: Cable
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The average American spends a few hours a day in front of a TV, making it a big part of today’s society. Cable is a massive want, and yet there are still millions of people in the world who don’t have access to it. Not having cable doesn’t mean missing out on news and TV shows, it just means finding alternative ways to access them. An example of this would be using a public Wi-Fi system to check up on the websites of all your favorite news channels. 
Need: Clothing
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Basic clothing is vital for protecting ourselves in day-to-day life. Having shoes to protect our feet and clothes to protect our skin is extremely important for safety and health purposes. Clothing as a necessity does not mean name-brand clothes, fancy new shoes, or the hottest accessories, it simply means keeping your body covered and safe.
Want: Sushi
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Eating out in general, especially often, is considered a want. While we need food, spending too much on eating fancier dishes isn’t necessary. Everyone enjoys a meal out every now and again, but each time you pay for a meal at a restaurant, the money should come from the “want” category of your budget.
Need: Health care and Hygiene products
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Having access to health care and health-related products is a necessity. It is common to get the flu or a cold, yet both can lead to more serious health problems. This means having access to medical supplies and attention is vital. As college students, most of us are young and healthy, and therefore sometimes forget the importance of health care.
Just because we need certain items, doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves to a want every now and again. It’s okay to satisfy wants and have fun, but it’s also important to know the distinct difference that can put money and life into a new perspective.
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