It is a rare person who can say they have enough money. Most of us believe a little (or a lot) more money would help life to be easier, problems to be solved, and more joy to be present in our lives. To have this extra money we either need to make more than we already do, or spend less than we are presently spending.
Often, spending less is the quicker way to have some extra money show up. But this requires some self-control and, as the psychologists put it, the ability to “delay gratification.”
Such self-control can be learned by almost everyone. However, it requires the conquering of the “itch” to buy things right now. If you can embark on a program of retraining your brain to save for future payoffs, then you can beat the “itch” and have abundance in your finances.
Unfortunately, we can so easily fall into fulfilling our immediate desires. If we get a bonus, inheritance, or even Friday’s paycheck, we often give in to the irresistible urge to splurge on anything we lay our eyes on. What a dangerous mistake! We squander the future for today’s appetites.
What is shiny and new today often fades by tomorrow. The trinkets pass into meaninglyness, the electronic doodads become outdated, and the expensive meals are consumed and forgotten. If only we could practice some patience and self-control, realizing and thinking about the really important things that might value in the future.
We might like to have the down payment on a mortgage, or the ability to take a longer vacation, or just the peace of mind of having a rainy day fund. This kind of financial success begins with our conscious effort to control our expenditures and save rather than spend.
So, how do we begin to learn the self-control, saving process? There are many ways that people take for granted. Here’s a list to get you started. These items might seem impossible, but they aren’t. I see people learn from them everyday.
1. For a week, assign yourself to be aware of each and every purchase. Decide whether it is a purchase that is based on impulse or prior planning. When in balance, there is nothing wrong with impulse buying, however, if you wish to save money, this is the place to start. When you notice the impulse, ask yourself if you will regret in the future not having saved this money.
2. Identify your needs and wants. A need is something that is basic to survival: food clothing, shelter, medical and dental care, and information like this on how to be successful in life. A want is something that is about more than just survival. It is something that gives you joy. Needs always come first, but we need to meet a few wants or life becomes rather dull.
3. Look for a person who can serve as a role model for you. Adopt a financial lifestyle similar to what this person does. It’s much easier to practice self-control and delayed gratification when you see it practiced by someone you respect.
This is just a beginning, but what a great start! If you can do just these three things, you’re well on your way to some extra money in your bank account.