Set savings goals. If you have objectives in mind for your savings, you are far less likely to spend now and (try to) save later. Keeping your eye on savings objectives is a way to train yourself to delay gratification and trim your impulse buys.
Gain a support group. As more than one financial guru has advised, if you want to feel rich, surround yourself with people, rather than things. Get yourself a terrific network of friends and family to help you feel fulfilled, and you’re less likely to rely on purchases to achieve that goal. And here’s a bonus: If you let a few of those friends, co-workers, neighbors and cousins know you’re trying to get a handle on your spending, their informal oversight can help you stick to the straight and narrow.
Don’t get stuck in the present. Use your imagination to envision yourself at some future point, taking the vacations and enjoying the lifestyle made possible because you were able to hold off spending today. Develop an ability to visualize your future self at each moment you want to indulge in a $7 latte or a $33,000 entry-level luxury coupe.
Highly-placed sources have whispered to me that delayed gratification can become a habit. Instead of blowing cash at every turn, you hone the custom of asking yourself if you shouldn’t postpone the purchase of those shiny new trinkets. Before long you’ve become a regular money master, going the extra mile and researching zero percent APR credit cards, and how to save on car insurance and life insurance.
What’s clear is that when it comes to gratification, it is those who wait that prosper.
Hurry up and wait!
Jeffrey Steele is an independent writer in Chicago who has written over 2,000 articles appearing in publications such as Barron's, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, LA Times, and more.