From CNN Money:
Question: I've been trying to be a little more thrifty lately. I realize that a lot of the luxuries Americans have are "wants" not "needs." Basically, I'd like to balance my household budget so I don't end up with just $30 at the end of the month. I'd even like to start building some savings. Any suggestions? --Kim, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Answer: A lot of people are experiencing the epiphany you've had about wants vs. needs.
Of course, we also have to keep in mind that one person's indulgence may be another's necessity. For example, a recent MainStay Investments poll that asked just over 1,000 baby boomers about their attitudes toward saving for retirement found that 46% considered weekend getaways not a luxury but a basic need.
I guess I can understand that. Someone who puts in lots of hours at a high-pressure job might very well see the occasional short trip not as an extravagance but a way to preserve sanity in a hectic life. I have to admit that I'm less sympathetic, though, to the 2% of my fellow boomers who classified professional manicures and pedicures as a basic need.