After getting through the Back to School craziness, I’m picking up the 50 Ways series again. This post is part of a series based on Laine’s Home Economics: 50 Ways We Paid Off Our House on One Income. Previous posts in the series are listed on my Budget page. Laine is a Christian woman living with her family in California and living off one income. I first started following her via an email list about 7 or 8 years ago.
The road to credit card debt is paved with good intentions and no discipline. You first step on the road when you pull out your card to pay for dinner instead of using the cash in your pocket. At this point, you could leave the road, and set a new course with your money. Instead, you choose to make a partial payment on your credit card which is now carrying charges for groceries, dinner, and of course, that dress that was on sale that you just had to have because you don’t have any brown dresses with white flowers yet. And yes, you bought the shoes to match and charged them.
I’ll be the first one to say I’ve struggled with delayed gratification over the years. Fortunately, my struggle hasn’t been a huge financial hit for my family, though I’m sure if I added up the dollars and cents over the years, I still wouldn’t like the total.
My Lessons Learned
- Set up an envelope or separate line in your budget for the item. For example, I have an envelope for a new sofa (cash), and a budget line (linked to a savings account) for our new furnace.
- Use cash to pay for items as much as possible. Psychologically, it works better in reining in spending.
If you have an itch to spend, call your frugal buddy. I was really frustrated with the bedroom that my middle sons share. It has very little storage right now. When I was about to run to Ikea to buy storage items, I called my frugal sister-in-law, and we talked through the long-term plan for the bedroom. The goal is to put bunk beds in the room to accommodate 3 boys, however, given the pitch of the roof, our options are limited. End result: I re-arranged items and never went to Ikea.
- Measure the item in the store, and go home and measure the space it needs to fit. Back to the bedroom – my husband and I wanted to get the boys into bunk beds. We went to Ikea thinking we might come home with new beds. However, we measured the beds, and stood next to them, and said, wait a minute, this might not fit. Let’s go measure everything at home.
- If you have a hard time with picking up items just because you saw them, use a small basket or carry everything in your arms. Again, you’re less likely to pick up something on a whim if you have to carry it to the register along with the items you actually needed.
- If you have the urge to go shopping, walk around your home with a bag and collect 25 items to donate to charity. Sometimes the act of connecting physically with our possessions helps us to realize that we already have enough, maybe too much stuff.
- Surround yourself with like-minded friends. Seek out people who are frugal, budget-minded, willing to make do with what they have. You’ll be more motivated to do the same.
What are your tips for delaying gratification?
Because I love meeting new people and sharing, this post is linked to:
Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday