Being healthy financially is integrally connected with applying the virtue of self-discipline. Self-discipline is a virtue that we should practice in all areas of our lives, including finances. Has anyone else noticed that these core virtues that were fundamentally part of healthy families and a healthy society in previous generations seem to be slowly fading away and even disappearing? Our society today is becoming more and more fast-paced and less and less patient. Clever marketers and advertisers convince many that the way to happiness is through the accumulation of stuff. Their message seems to be, "Why wait when you can have it all right now?" That attitude leads many to rack up so much credit card and other debt that they are literally enslaved to it. The burden is so heavy that they may think that it's too late and they'll never recover.
But the truth is, it's never to late to begin practicing self-discipline in our finances, whether we have a mountain of debt or not.
So how do we do it? Well, self-discipline is a lot like a muscle in your body. And like muscles, self-discipline doesn't just happen overnight. To get a stronger muscle, we have to add weight and pressure and exercise it regularly. And that's the same with self-discipline. As we practice self-discipline, our self-discipline grows.
Here are some ways that I've thought of that we can practice self-discipline financially:
- Have you fallen for the "buy now, pay later" mentality? First step. Get rid of the credit cards. Do "plastic surgery" as I've heard it called. Yep. Cut 'em up. All of 'em. Remove the temptation to rack up more.
- Start now to pay off debt. And pay all your bills on time or early.
- Don't buy on a whim. I love this idea of the 30 day rule for impulse spending. I think most of my whims would come and go after 30 days...
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. And limit your shopping trips.
- Start now to save for things you want. Pay cash every time.
- Set long-term financial goals. This really helps. If you see the long term picture, it's easier to not fall for the daily wants.
- Be okay with less than perfect surroundings. Don't compare yourself to others or try to keep up with your neighbors (See my previous post on being content right now).
- Say yes to needs and no to wants. Be honest with yourself about what is really a need (See my previous post on Luxury vs. Necessity).
- Track all of your expenditures and stick with your budget- We try to do this weekly and as long as we do it that often it only takes about 20-30 minutes. When you miss a few weeks it takes a lot longer, so stay on top of it. For more info, see my previous post on Budgeting.
- Work Hard - this should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Self-discipline takes work and a lot of effort. Be willing to put forth the effort to see the results.
I'd love to hear your ideas. Have you thought of more ways that we can practice self-discipline financially? What's worked for you? Happy Frugal Friday everyone and hope you all have a fabulous weekend.
This week I'll be linking to some of these link parties.