5 Now that we’ve gone over where to keep your money and how to access it, let’s shift gears and discuss spending your money. Needs vs. Wants To be a smart consumer you must differentiate between needs and wants. Needs are things that are necessary in your life, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Wants are things you don't have to have; they are things you would just like to have or do (e.g., larger TV, new cell phone, concert tickets). Of course, businesses work hard to convince you that you don't just want what they’re selling—you need it. Smart consumers are aware of these sales tactics and don't let them to influence their spending decisions. So,beforeyouspendyourhardearneddollars,askyourself, "Is this something I need?" If it's not, make sure that you're being selective, and that you are spending your money on things that are really important to you. Spending Tips u If you're not sure whether you should buy something, wait a day or two and see how you feel. Waiting helps eliminate bad decisions and impulse buying. u Beware of online purchases that have additional fees or extrava- gant shipping and handling charges. Companies use tactics such as these to hide the actual cost of their products. u Don't purchase extended warranties. Businesses love you to buy these, but they are seldom a good deal for the customer. u Do your research. Read customer reviews, do some comparison shopping, and check out Consumer Reports. u Read the fine print before signing any contract. You don't want to find out a year from now that you signed a five-year agreement for something you no longer want. Being a Smart Consumer