How to Delay Gratification

If you know how to delay gratification, you're on your way to being a frugal individual who will likely enjoy tremendous financial success.

A key to financial freedom and a cornerstone of upward mobility is the ability to delay gratification – to be satisfied with what you have now, knowing that greater satisfaction, fulfillment and indulgence will come later.

It's been a key to my financial success. Turning my back on it was the cause of my financial ruin.

I can’t say that I learned much in college that I have put to use in my professional career, but I do remember one professor making a point that individuals that are upwardly mobile are most likely those that practice delayed gratification.

This point stuck with me, as I notice that this is exactly what my frugal family had done. Seeing evidence that his comment was correct, I added this to my mindset of frugality. That meant I was willing to wait on discretionary spending until something worthwhile came along. It made sense to me.

Okay, so it's a great idea, but how is it done? Can I learn how to delay gratification? Sure, but it takes practice. Here is what I think you'll need to practice:

  • Being a financial planner so you know what you're waiting for, aiming at and saving for.
  • Counting your "blessings" so you'll be happy with what you have instead of yearning for what you don't have and might not be readily attainable.
  • Using mental toughness to see you through to "the other side" whenever you're tempted to throw in the financial towel, give up on accumulating wealth, give in to the excessive spending of consumerism, or "lay down and die" with respect to individual responsibility.
  • Being prepared for things that never seem to arrive, happen or take place.
  • Resisting peer pressure that encourages you to follow the crowd, be part of the crowd, hang out with the crowd and get lost in the crowd.
  • Take the long view of your life and what you really want out of it.
  • Distinguish between needs and wants so you can prioritize your spending, make self investments, and generally be conservative about your financial situation.
  • Be willing to be the hero in your own life story, the one you can count on, the one who never lets you down.
  • Reward yourself a bit as a means of encouragement, but hold off on the celebrations until there is really something lasting, meaningful and worthwhile to celebrate, and then celebrate in a financially responsible manner.

If you can do these things reasonably well, then you'll know how to delay gratification. After you practice it a while, it will become ever easier to do, and you'll be ever more successful at creating, accumulating and putting your wealth to good use.

Knowing how to delay gratification isn't a mystery to me. The mystery is why people find it so difficult and prefer the enslavement and anguish that debt and living check-to-check promises for its followers.

Learn how to delay gratification by spending time with others that have done it. Learn by trying to understand that your life is all about the moments you live, and all those future moments are on the way - you can't stop them. Plan and act responsibly and they'll be the great moments that you deserve; fail to be responsible with your finances, and you'll also get exactly what you deserve.

Done with How to Delay Gratification, 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.