Saving, Spending, and Gratification

Do you remember as a child saving up your allowance and birthday money to buy something special that you really wanted?  Perhaps it was a bicycle or a video game system.  You probably had a jar or a piggy bank that you put money into every time you got your allowance.  You asked your parents and neighbors if you could do chores to earn some extra money to help you reach your goal a bit faster.  Every so often, you dumped out you collection of dollar bills and change and counted it carefully to see how close you were to reaching your goal.  Finally, you had enough. With great joy and anticipation, you went to the store to make your purchase.  You treasured the item you had worked so hard and so long to be able to obtain.

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If you ever did this, then you understand the principle of delayed gratification.  The things which we work hard to obtain mean more and bring greater satisfaction than those things that come easily and without sacrifice. You worked hard and you waited to get your dream item until you could pay for it.  And, in return, you had the reward of owning it without being indebted to someone else.

As an adult, you have access to credit cards and payment plans that were not available to you as a child.  As a result, you may have fallen into the habit of buying immediately anything that catches your interest.  Many times the pleasure of the purchase is gone before the item is fully paid off, and on occasion, before you even get the item home.  Our closets and storage rooms are stuffed with clothing we don’t like and items which we didn’t need.

Saving and waiting are two words that many of us don’t like to apply to our lives, yet there are tangible rewards to be achieved by incorporating them into our spending decisions.

  1. Lower levels of credit card debt.  By delaying a purchase and saving up the money to pay for it, you will keep you consumer debt in check and lower you overall level of debt. This saves you interest, improves your credit score, and allows you to have greater access to financing when you really need it.
  2. Fewer extraneous purchases.  People who are saving with a goal in mind are less likely to spend money on small extravagances. They recognize that any money not spent can be added to their savings and help them achieve their goal sooner.
  3. Fewer regrets about purchases.  Saving up for a purchase allows you plenty of time to decide if you really want and need the item, which will result in wiser purchase decisions.
  4. Greater enjoyment.  Delayed gratification truly does lead to greater satisfaction.  When you finally are able to purchase the item, it is debt-free and you have thought through the purchase decision carefully.

If you are trying to improve your financial situation, employing the tactic of delayed gratification is an important first step to get you on the right track.

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Author: Susan Elizabeth Ball

Author of the Christian fiction series Restored Hearts. Book 1, Restorations, was published in October 2010 and Book 2, Reconciliations, in October 2011.

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