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Delaying Gratification: Why Waiting a Little Longer Pays More
Delaying Gratification: Why Waiting a Little Longer Pays More
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Money Management

Delaying Gratification: Why Waiting a Little Longer Pays More

Wycliffe Musalia
August 2, 2022

In our current age of one-click transactions and instant access to information, instant gratification has become the norm. The ever-on world of mobile phones and Wi-Fi reinforces the notion that you need to have what you want right away. 

However, instant gratification is not always the best option; in fact, impulse gratification control is an important life skill. Delaying gratification is a skill that will help you achieve your goals faster.

It is unrealistic to expect to achieve everything you desire, much less immediately. Instant gratification can be a source of frustration because it creates unrealistic expectations. 

Deferring gratification allows you to make more time for careful planning and failure-based learning. But how does delayed gratification work?  How can you build this essential skill?

What is Delayed Gratification?

Delayed gratification refers to the ability to resist the push to get an available, immediate reward, in order to get a valuable reward later. 

In simpler terms, you resist the urge to take instant returns by exercising self-control for potential greater financial returns in the future.

For example, if you take a commuter bus to work instead of driving or using Uber every day. This could save you money that can be channeled into other useful financial needs like saving for holidays, trips, emergencies, or any other goal you deem important.

It means saving money you spend on small things daily for bigger things that can give you long-lasting happiness.

Delayed gratification is the opposite of instant gratification which refers to the desire to get things without hesitation. This is getting what you want when you want it.

For example, if you feel like going for an eat out or order fast food and the next thing you find yourself in a restaurant. 

It is not bad to treat yourself, but taking the law of enjoying the wait into effect could give you greater happiness later. You could choose to cook in your house and save the extra coins you spend on eat-outs/fast food for a greater treat later in the year during the holidays.

Read Also: Haste Makes Waste: Why Hasty Financial Decisions Lead to Regrets

Examples of Delayed Gratification

Some of the examples of delayed gratification include;

  • Saving money for retirement
  • Saving money for financial growth
  • Delaying going out for entertainment for a future holiday

How to Employ Delayed Gratification in Your Finances

1. Plan or set goals

Planning is the act of reviewing your financial situation and developing a budget or objectives to take it to the next level. Financial objectives can be short-term, such as saving for a vacation, or long-term, such as preparing for retirement.

A smart plan or budget balances your income and spending over a certain period of time in order to reach your objectives. Planning for the most significant objectives, such as saving for a house, might provide you with the desire you want in the future.

Read Also: 7 Short-Term Financial Goals to Set For Yourself

2. Establish rules.

Rules are guidelines that govern how you intend to spend your money. One of these rules may be delayed gratification, which means postponing momentary fun like sherehe every weekend, to save money for future use such as going back to school for your master's or higher diploma.

You also could make it a rule to evaluate your present financial situation before acquiring anything, whether it's clothing or an electrical device like the latest smartphone.

Read Also: How to Save Up for a Big Purchase, Painlessly

3. Keep track of your goals.

Keeping track of your objectives entails reminding yourself of what you want to accomplish in a given time frame. Remind yourself why you want to save up for retirement. Or why you are saving for a big purchase. That will help you stick to your goals and keep yourself motivated.

You can set realistic timelines for when you want to achieve each goal and conduct frequent progress reviews. 

Read Also: Money Mastery: How to Set & Actually Achieve Your Financial Goals

The Significance of Delayed Gratification

1. It enables you to maximise your earnings.

When you sacrifice some instant purchases,  you could shift your money into major expenditures that maximise your income. Increase your emergency savings, for example, to lessen your reliance on your monthly income.

2. Enhances your money management skills

Delayed gratification is mostly achieved by careful planning and budgeting. 

Having this approach in place will help you improve your money management skills, such as tracking your spending, contributing to your personal savings, paying off debt building an emergency fund, or setting a healthy budget which will all culminate in reducing money wastage and boosting your wealth creation capabilities. Making you a better money manager.

Read Also: 5 Must-Have Money Management Skills

3. Helps you to minimise debt

Debts may be driven by the want and impulse to buy something. When you have the desire to spend or purchase a high-end smartphone but do not have the necessary funds, you may be forced to take out a loan. However, practicing delayed gratification in such a circumstance is beneficial since it will stop you from accruing unnecessary debt or piling more debt into an already existing one.

Read Also: 5 Tips to Mastering the Art of Debt-Free Living

4. Allows you plenty of time to consider an investment opportunity.

Delaying your desire to buy a piece of land or home allows you to plan keenly, do ample research, and save as much as you can in order to achieve that. It allows you to consider the property and if it is viable in terms of your investing goals.

You have adequate time to scan the region where you want to stage your house and consider things like security and value.

Read Also: Investing for Beginners: How to Get Started

Wrapping Up

Numerous factors contribute to being good at your finances. One of such is what we have talked about above - delayed gratification.

When you exercise restraint and adopt financial discipline, you will learn what the optimal financial objective is for ensuring long-term satisfaction.

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Musalia is a professional journalist, SEO writer and marketer. He has a pool of experience in online writing, editing and marketing. He is passionate about content marketing and has contributed to a vast number of digital publications. You can connect with Wycliffe on LinkedIn.

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