Free Needs vs Wants Worksheet (With Explainer Guide)

Free Needs vs Wants Worksheet (With Explainer Guide)

Understanding needs versus wants isn’t always easy, especially for kids who don’t yet understand the value of money. However, showing them that we all have spending priorities is key to helping them become financially smart adults who are able to manage their own finances. Here’s what they need to know.


What is the difference between needs and wants?

The difference between needs and wants is that needs are things like food and clothing that your child can’t live without, while wants are toys and games that your kids would like, but can live without. Explaining this essential difference is the foundation to helping your kids start thinking about money basics such as budgeting, spending, saving and delaying gratification.


Your needs vs wants worksheets for kids 

The concept of needs vs wants isn’t hard to understand, but it does require practice to remember. And this is where our needs and wants worksheet comes in handy. Using it will help guide your child, no matter what their age, in understanding the main differences – and why they can’t have everything they want. Ready to get started?


Download our free needs vs wants worksheet


How to use the needs vs wants worksheet for kids


Using the worksheet is also a great way for kids (and even adults) to think about the bigger decisions we make around money. Filling it out helps kids to consider why needs have to be prioritised and what’s essential and what isn’t.


For younger kids, the worksheet will help them understand why parents say no to things and how saving is a tool to help them work towards the items they want.


With teens, you can use the worksheet to talk about why it’s important  to know how to prioritise needs using rent, bills, and student loans as examples. It also pays to widen the conversation to discuss saving, delaying gratification and budgeting.


What examples should I give when using the sheet?


The good news is that teaching your kids about needs versus wants can start at a very young age. For instance, it’s easy when you go shopping to handle their pester power by reminding them that you don’t ‘need’ more LEGO at home, but you do ‘need’ bread and milk, and that’s where the money has to go. 


With the worksheet, start by filling out your own version to show them that needs versus wants have to be considered even when you’re an adult. For example,


Monthly Need


Monthly Want












TV subscriptions




Ask them if they are surprised by anything on your wants list and if not, add more things they may not have recognised as wants (and maybe even taken for granted), such as Netflix, certain foods, takeaway coffee, sports items, the car, or holidays.


Now ask them to think of at least ten things they, or you, have bought or spent money on recently. Record them in either the ‘needs’ or ‘wants’ column in the table, and then ask them several questions about money to expand the exercise. 



  • Do you have more needs or wants listed? Why might that be? 
  • Are you surprised at what falls into the needs or wants column?
  • Do you think anything is in the wrong column, and if so, why?
  • Why do you need to prioritise needs?
  • How could you work towards getting your wanted items?
  • What’s a good way to delay gratification?


How can GoHenry help me teach my child about wants and needs?


A GoHenry pre-paid debit card can help cement the lessons you teach your kids about needs vs wants by showing them how to use and save their pocket money sensibly. The app also features Money Missions which allows kids to earn points while watching videos and taking interactive quizzes on topics such as spending wisely, budgeting and investing. 



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Written by Anita Naik Published Dec 27, 2022 ● 1 min. read