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How do you delay gratification when you theoretically can afford things right now?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have some major problems with thinking I need to buy things right now.  I'm a fairly frugal person, but I do like quality things, so will shell out money for something I know will last a long time.  My problem is, I am really good at rationalizing purchases to myself, even when that thing is not a necessity.  I really want to start putting money into my savings account on a regular basis, but I keep telling myself I can afford (this amazing thing I think will make my life infinitely better), when really, I don't need said thing.  How do you exercise self-control in this area?  I am super struggling with this and need advice!

post #2 of 12

I use my date book as a shopping list. I seem to always have a list of big ($100-200?) items I need. I put them on paydays, one at a time. I am scheduled through next March or so. I don't always get what I planned, but it makes me feel better to know "it is on the list". I have found that most things can wait, and sometimes when payday comes around, it doesn't feel so important any more.
 

post #3 of 12

^ I like this!  I bought a calendar that has space on it for to do, to call, and to buy.  It organizes my brain (I'm not one for electronic calendars) but it also organizes my bigger purchases.  Having it written down helps me feel that same sense of accomplishment as buying impulsively.  It's in black and white.  I haven't lost the mental gymnastics and reasons and research that convinced me I need the thing, which is helpful - I'm just putting it up there for later.  That distance helps me decide if it's really important right now, what purchases might be more important, etc.

 

I also try to do this with smaller purchases whenever possible (i.e. toys for DS that cost $20-25+) on a separate list.  That way, I can prioritize our toy list and really look hard at the longevity of items, whether we have something similar already, whether DS has already blown through a phase that I thought would take months, etc.  Again, I feel better because I haven't "lost" the effort put into picking it out - I'm just letting it marinate for a minute. winky.gif

 

I used to do this with clothes - back in the day, I could go through marking a million items in catalogs.  Then I would put it away (or stay out of the store/website) for a week or two.  Whatever stuck out in my mind as being something I REALLY wanted - that was what I bought, not the rest of it that I liked on sight, but was ultimately forgettable. HTH!!

 

(full disclosure - I still suck at the <$20 stuff from time to time - I need to re-focus on the nickel and diming)

post #4 of 12

Make a list of things you don't NEED and price and keep it as inspiration. Prioritize on stuff you need/want more than others....

make sure you have ATLEAST 8-12m of savings.

 

this is a bit of a fuzzy area. you should have atleast 8m of your *expenses* and/or salary.

for me i'm putting away almost half of my income into savings right now, and one of my biggest expenses is daycare (it's more than my mortgage and car payment and car ins combined!) so if I lost my job or was unable to work, my expenses would be FAR less than my income is. I have exactally 8m of my salary in savings/investment accts at my bank (easy access)

however, expenses wise I have er.... 14+ months easy of income, and if you add in unemployment + childsupport (whopping 500/mth) and the no daycare thing...I could live off my savings for close to 3 years I am figuring.

 

funny part is, the more you have in savings the more you WANT to save :)

I'm just now spending money on some would-be-nice-to-have items. I just bought a dyson and i'm hovering over the "buy" button on a upright freezer and have been for a couple weeks now. LOL. I bought a new fridge to replace the free with the house fridge I had from the 80s 18m ago, and a tv to replace my hulking 32" CRT tv about a year ago.

 

I try and imagine how terrible i'd feel if I blew cash on something $$ and then my AC blew up or a tree fell on my house or something equally tragic, and I had just blown money on something I didn't absolutely need.

post #5 of 12

Two suggestions that may help: 

 

1. Automatic transfer of funds. If you have salary deposited regularly into your chequing or daily use bank account, then set up an automatic transfer of a specific amount into your savings account. Once there, don't touch it. It has been "spent" on your savings. 

 

2. Avoid temptation. Don't window shop or wander through the mall or go down the aisles at the supermarket with the home goods (my supermarket sells kitchen and housewares, clothes, stationary, books etc.). Don't check out shopping websites.

 

Good luck.  

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

Two suggestions that may help: 

 

1. Automatic transfer of funds. If you have salary deposited regularly into your chequing or daily use bank account, then set up an automatic transfer of a specific amount into your savings account. Once there, don't touch it. It has been "spent" on your savings. 

 

2. Avoid temptation. Don't window shop or wander through the mall or go down the aisles at the supermarket with the home goods (my supermarket sells kitchen and housewares, clothes, stationary, books etc.). Don't check out shopping websites.

 

Good luck.  

 

I do #1.....everytime I got a bonus or tax return ect it went into savings, and everytime I got a raise or my kid's daycare went down i'd up my auto savings $$ by same number. I'm still living on around half of what I make now and I don't feel like i'm broke at all. I found out when I was younger that raises seemed exciting and then you went from spending X to Y overnight and couldn't figure out where money was going. Now I pretend I never get it, and I never miss it!

post #7 of 12

OP is the issue that you like to treat yourself to an item because it makes you feel good? I ask because I am that way. When I'm stressed out I just want to go shopping to get a little pick-me-up. So I now transfer that energy into going to a thrift store and picking out a trinket or something else small instead of blowing $200 on a pair of shoes that sure, would last a long time, but that I don't really need. I also *really* enjoy my trips to Target or the grocery store, where I am usually buying necessities.

 

I love the idea of a date book for larger purchases!

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by loveandgarbage View Post

OP is the issue that you like to treat yourself to an item because it makes you feel good? I ask because I am that way. When I'm stressed out I just want to go shopping to get a little pick-me-up. So I now transfer that energy into going to a thrift store and picking out a trinket or something else small instead of blowing $200 on a pair of shoes that sure, would last a long time, but that I don't really need. I also *really* enjoy my trips to Target or the grocery store, where I am usually buying necessities.

 

I love the idea of a date book for larger purchases!

LOL....shopping at thrift and target can be just as bad sometimes, I can't leave target for less than 100 and often more. and we've all seen hoarders who collect free stuff! :D

 

I'm already obsessing with freezer i've decided to buy and how much fun i'll have filling it! isn't that a sad state of my life? ehh...I don't have a man, i'll just obsessively shop and fill a freezer for 6m.

Who has ADD and ocd? moi?

 

I've got a list for butcher for meat (I NEVER buy meat....long term planning doesn't work for me, and with travel, long work days, ex visitation....I throw away probably 90% of what I buy) - mostly non-steak cuts. I'm not a steak eater, but I love stews etc. list of ground, stew, roasts, porkchops, and whole fryers...

Then to baird for restocking of bread, then to TJs and stockpile on rice and asian foods, mac and cheese, veggies and fruits, etc.

Then to reg store for a few pizzas I think :)

 

I have WAAAYYY too much time on my hands!

post #9 of 12
Hmm I think what really helps me is being firmly committed to saving. Are you saving just because someone told you that you "should" save? You need to come up with reasons that are meaningful & powerful for you. It's hard to bypass that awesome purchase when you're just saving money because that's what adults do. But if you have specific goals in mind -- a great vacation, or buying a house, or the freedom of not using credit cards, or the peace of mind a 6-month emergency fund would bring... then it's easier to weigh the pros & cons of buying something RIGHT NOW.

So one way to do this is start up multiple savings accounts (ING lets you have sub-accounts within your account if you want an easy way to do this, or you can just have a spreadsheet), and make sure each account is personally meaningful:
Account 1: Save for big screen TV for the Superbowl, Goal: $750
Account 2: Emergency fund so I can stop worrying about losing my job, Goal: $7000
Account 3: Vacation fund to visit family we haven't seen in 3 years, Goal: $2000

Try to have goals of varying amounts (so you can quickly reach some of the goals to reward yourself for saving).

Then, when you are holding the absolutely awesome blender that will make morning smoothies a full 3 seconds sooner... you can ask yourself, would I rather have this blender, or put the money toward that vacation I'm saving for? Even if you ultimately choose the blender, it will be a much more conscious choice with full awareness of what you are giving up.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all the thoughtful responses!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

I use my date book as a shopping list. I seem to always have a list of big ($100-200?) items I need. I put them on paydays, one at a time. I am scheduled through next March or so. I don't always get what I planned, but it makes me feel better to know "it is on the list". I have found that most things can wait, and sometimes when payday comes around, it doesn't feel so important any more.
 

  I like this idea a lot!  I have tried to do this in the past, but in a half-ass way ;)  I think I need to be better about having a plan for these big purchases (most of which I don't really *need* anyway).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

Two suggestions that may help: 

 

1. Automatic transfer of funds. If you have salary deposited regularly into your chequing or daily use bank account, then set up an automatic transfer of a specific amount into your savings account. Once there, don't touch it. It has been "spent" on your savings. 

 

2. Avoid temptation. Don't window shop or wander through the mall or go down the aisles at the supermarket with the home goods (my supermarket sells kitchen and housewares, clothes, stationary, books etc.). Don't check out shopping websites.

 

Good luck.  

#1 is something I definitely need to set up.  

#2 is where I struggle a bit, but it's mostly at thrift stores or seeing things on people's blogs that just make life THAT much better.  I need to remind myself that experiences are the things that make life THAT much better! :)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Basylica View Post

 

funny part is, the more you have in savings the more you WANT to save :)

I'm hoping this turns out to be the case once I get into a regular savings routine!

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by loveandgarbage View Post

OP is the issue that you like to treat yourself to an item because it makes you feel good? I ask because I am that way. When I'm stressed out I just want to go shopping to get a little pick-me-up. So I now transfer that energy into going to a thrift store and picking out a trinket or something else small instead of blowing $200 on a pair of shoes that sure, would last a long time, but that I don't really need. I also *really* enjoy my trips to Target or the grocery store, where I am usually buying necessities.

 

I love the idea of a date book for larger purchases!

Yeah I think I realized that I'm a PMS shopper--LOL!  I'm good for most of the month, but fall apart at a certain time, and I'm pretty sure it's related to being unsatisfied with something bigger that I turn into a material dissatisfaction.  Now, to figure out why I'm REALLY dissatisfied...

post #11 of 12

oh! one of the tips i've seen help people (wouldn't work for me since I seldom plan ahead on running to stores etc)

 

Is to only take enough money to stores to buy what you planned to buy so you cannot splurge on impulse stuff. You'll be forced to go home and come back which will give you plenty of time to think it over and decide if its really worth spending money on.

post #12 of 12

i, like other posters, keep a master list of what I want.  I have a definite  vision of my life and the life I want in the future and the list keeps me on track.  I am in the process of changing careers so I have a new list of what I need for a work wardrobe.  I have an allocated amount of money every week or every month, and sometimes will just plan a purchase for next year.  The thing is, many of the things I put on my "wish list" I end up finding at yard sales or a thrift store eventually.  So I just keep my eyes open.  I rarely need something now, so I just wait patiently.  I also keep an Amazon wish list, but that usually has more fun things on it like books I want to read (don't usually buy books but I will order them from the library eventually, and then they can come off of the list!)  There is something about knowing that the item I want is "on the list" (either one!) that very much helps with parsing out the buying.  I have no worries about forgeting to get it or anything.  I have been using Windows Notebook for lots of my life lists and organization and I find it a wonderful tool especially as it will save the link so easily. 

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