I’ve always struggled a bit with this, because while I’m a planner, I also tend to lose motivation when results seem a long way off. My favorite scene in movies is the montage where the hero or heroine is working towards their goal, and within a matter of minutes, they’ve gone from flab to fab. It’s just so satisfying, isn’t it? But real life doesn’t work like that, and trying to stick to your goals when the going is long can be tough.
For me, this is more of an issue when it comes to spending than saving. I don’t mind waiting for savings to add up–every little bit is encouraging to me, maybe because I don’t have one big goal in mind for our savings. I know I would like to have a house one day (or at least a bigger apartment) but I haven’t sat down and calculated out exactly how much it would cost; it just seems too big of a goal. Houses is our area are pricey, so we’d be looking at almost double our current mortgage just to get a small fixer-upper.
But those smaller, spur-of-the-moment purchases can be hard for me to resist. I have a trick I play on myself, where I’ll pick up something I’m interested in buying. During the rest of my visit to the store, I’ll carry that item around with me, as if it were already mine. Generally, by the time I finally make it to the register, I’ve talked myself out of buying it. This is particularly effective when it comes to clothes, which I won’t allow myself to buy without trying on. If I don’t have the patience to wait in line for the dressing room, to try it for fit and look, then wait in line again to buy it–well, is it really worth it? Sometimes my lack of patience can work in my favor, frugally speaking.
When there’s something that I want that costs more than 20â‚¬, I generally give myself a longer “waiting” period before I’ll buy it. There’s a local clothing store that I really like, but its prices tend to be a bit out of my budget. Because I’m a “fan” (or is it only that I “like” them now?) on facebook, I get messages about deals they are having. For our French Mother’s Day, which was last weekend, they had a special flash sale–any item for 40% off and free shipping. How can you beat that? So, in honor of the day, I treated myself to a cute summer dress that I’d be wanting, but for which I’d balked at the price tag. My patience in this instance saved me over 30â‚¬.
One of the most important things that helps me stay frugal is knowing my own strengths and weaknesses, and knowing how to put them to work for me rather than against me. I still struggle with patience in all areas of my life, but it’s something I make a conscious effort to cultivate.
What about you? How much does patience play a role in your financial life? What tips and tricks do you have for being patient when it comes to achieving your goals?