Part of the reason I’ve been so successful at saving money is my lifelong ability to delay gratification (check out this post on Grumpy Rumblings for definitions and comments, etc..), even in my more impulsive college years and early 20s. However, lately, I wonder if this method works so well for me anymore. I just feel like I’m delaying the inevitable purchase (and yes, I know that purchases/spending are rarely inevitable..) Still, even if it takes me a long time to buy something, I usually end up doing it at some point. I guess I know my tastes and needs pretty well by this age and it’s increasingly rare that I want something that is useless or frivolous.
That is not to say my ability to delay gratification is useless. Many times, I earmark pretty pictures in magazines or bookmark websites (saving items in wishlists or shopping carts). If I delay the purchase, I usually forget about the urgent “need”. I may also consult my primary shopping list and remind myself that I have higher spending priorities. Sometimes I completely forget about the item and lose interest.
With some things and experiences, however, my want usually remains so it’s just a matter of time before I buy those shoes or book that massage. Of course the delay can mean months, even 1 year or longer, so I suppose this tactic is still working. And there are times now that I let go of the “want” because more urgent basic and real needs crop up in the meantime.
So I guess it’s back to the inevitability of the purchase that is getting to me. What difference does it really make if I buy something I want now rather than 3 months down the line ( besides new stuff often going on sale..)??