Delayed Gratification versus Immediate Gratification

Delayed gratification is a central theme of frugal living. Satisfying your needs comes first.

Investing for your future comes next.

Being prepared is also very important.

You have to wait until the time is right to satisfy your "wants" so you don't mess up meeting your "needs" and investing for a secure future - one that is secure because you make it that way.

Here are examples of situations where success calls for practicing delayed gratification, even though immediate gratification appears to be just as compelling. While reviewing each example, just think about how one course of action bears plentiful fruit in the future, while the other course of action only results in limited rewards in the moment.

Delayed Gratification

Immediate Gratification

Putting time on the job to gain experience and show loyalty to future employers.

Hopping from one slightly higher paying job to another, and having a resume that looks like that too.

Figuring out a problem by thinking it through and discussing it with others, so you have a better idea how to solve similar problems when they occur.

Giving up quickly and asking for the answer.  Knowing the answer, but not really knowing how to get the answer.

Owning a “beater” car because it is paid for and requires only liability insurance.

Driving a new car that is flashy and impressive, and makes you feel good about yourself.

Putting what’s left of your paycheck in the bank to fund something that is meaningful and worthwhile, even if you have no idea what that might be.

Putting what’s left of your paycheck on the bar so you and your buddies can have drinks together at the end of the work week.

Studying at the library after class to gain an edge on the upcoming examination, because you know that education is important for higher career income.

Spending time with your friends playing sports after class because that’s a lot more fun than studying at the library.

Renting a modest apartment for now and saving for a down payment on a house.

Spending more to have a really nice apartment now, but not saving for a down payment on a place of your own.

You can see the "push" and "pull" present in each scenario.

The immediate gratification is pulling you to do things that don’t have long-term wealth building or investment benefits. The activities are wealth draining or otherwise not an investment that will payoff in terms of potential for higher income.

Delaying gratification isn’t immediately satisfying, so it pushes you toward the immediate gratification options. This is what needs to be resisted if you're going to be successful.

The good news is that the delayed gratification scenarios hold much larger and more satisfying long-term benefits. The challenge is to see into the future and recognize that through frugal living you are building wealth and making an investment in your financial future, a little at a time.

Here are six techniques that I use to delay gratification. I think they'll work for you as well.

You know that anything worth having is worth working for and waiting for.

Done with Delayed Gratification, take me back to Are You Frugal?

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.