Is patience still a virtue? We live in a society of instant gratification. I’m just as guilty as anyone. If I have to wait 5 seconds for a webpage to load, I assume the internet is down. When someone writes a check in line in front of me, I sigh internally and mentally roll my eyes. I’m not sure when or how this happened. I assume it was just a gradual progression as things have become more and more convenient. But guess what? Impatience can be really costly. Here are three ways to stop debt caused by impatience.
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Stop impulse buying & Start planning
Why do we have to buy things the second we want them? Do we need to rely on stuff to make us happy? Are we just financing a lifestyle? If you see something you want, don’t buy it immediately. Think it over. Start a list in your phone of items that you want and make a plan for getting them. If you use YNAB, you could even set up a Wish List category and start budgeting for those items a little at a time.
Chances are you might change your mind about a purchase if you stop and think about it for even 2 minutes. Have you heard of buyer’s remorse? It’s a real thing. You buy something you want only to realize a few days later that you didn’t have the money for it and then you feel guilty. But of course no one likes feeling guilty so you just push it aside and don’t worry about it. Then the credit card bill comes and you feel guilty all over again. Was the thing you bought really worth all that drama? If you plan for a purchase, there is no drama or guilt.
Stop rationalizing & Start evaluating
If you have to justify a purchase, that might be a red flag that you shouldn’t really be buying it. Evaluate your motivation. Do you need this item? If so, do you need it now? We “needed” fitness trackers before Landon was born because we wanted to be healthy for him. Really? Yeah. What we actually needed was motivation and discipline to get our butts out the door for a walk. Somehow we thought the fitness devices would help us with that. Not so much.
One of the reasons we have always had credit card debt is because we wouldn’t tell ourselves or each other no. If one of us wanted something, we’d make a case for why we “needed” it and rationalize away our money conscience. Neither of us wanted to be the bad guy and say no, especially when the thing seemed to be important to make the other person happy. That’s basically the same reason we have such high student loan debt too. We weren’t willing to be uncomfortable. And now we’re paying for it BIG TIME.
We all need to say no to ourselves sometimes. I am teaching my son that he doesn’t need a toy every time we go to the store. Well, neither do adults. Really evaluate your purchases. Check your budget first. Ask yourself why you want it and if you can really afford it.
Stop charging & Start saving
Stop using credit cards. It sounds so simple. We’d been trying to get out of debt for so long but yet we kept using the cards. It was only when we started using YNAB that we finally nipped that in the bud. And honestly, I was annoyed about it for awhile. If I was going to use it correctly, YNAB was basically going to force me to pay for my credit card purchases. Jerks. I wasn’t used to that.
I know as a child I was taught that patience is a virtue and that you can’t have everything you want the second that you want it. But at the same time, I watched adults using credit cards and buying things whenever they wanted. I wasn’t really taught to save up and think a purchase through. I was taught to borrow money for what you want and pay it back “later.”
It’s time to get real. Adulting is hard. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Yes, that means you have to wait awhile. That’s a crazy concept right? It was for me. I shouldn’t have to wait for anything! Well, yeah, that’s why we have a mountain of debt.
A funny thing happens when you save up for something. You really start to understand your priorities when you work to set money aside. Anyone who’s ever been on a diet knows exactly what I mean. If you only have a certain number of calories for a treat, you want to make sure it’s the best treat available. It’s true with money too. Once you have some money available, you will most likely spend it more wisely.
Are you struggling with being patient? What’s your biggest challenge? Do you have tips for overcoming your impatience with spending? Share in the comments below!