Luxury Car

By now you may be asking yourself, what does any of this have to do with spending behavior? Well, when the needs at any of these levels aren't satisfied, we tend to compensate in some fashion. Many individuals compensate by spending money in particularly unproductive and unhealthy ways. In doing so, they often confuse their needs with unwarranted wants or desires. Let's look at two examples.

If a person's "Safety Needs" aren't fulfilled, they may come to believe they don't need anyone, or that they are more important than others. They may shop for items that are an unconscious expression of their superiority (e.g., sports cars, expensive suits or jewelry).

The Right Clothes

If a person's "Love Needs" aren't fulfilled, they may feel inadequate and wonder why people don't love them. Their desire to be loved and accepted by others may lead them to purchase clothing and other items that they associate with social acceptability. Teens are especially susceptible to this type of behavior, but adults engage in it, as well.

Whether or not you agree with the specific categories in Maslow's hierarchy, you should recognize that the motivations for our spending behaviors are influenced by factors not always readily apparent to us. We briefly mentioned the confusion of wants with needs. Let's explore this common problem more closely.