Friday, March 8, 2013

Frugal Friday: Financial Self-discipline

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:
  1. 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.
  2. Start now to pay off debt. And pay all your bills on time or early.
  3. 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...
  4. Make a shopping list and stick to it. And limit your shopping trips.
  5. Start now to save for things you want. Pay cash every time. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. 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).
  9. 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
  10. 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.
Self-discipline is key to most areas of success in our life, including financial success. And by financial success, I mean having our debts paid and spending less than we earn. This is something that we all can achieve if we're willing to practice self-discipline, no matter where we are right now.

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.


momstheword said...

We used to grocery shop with cash, and that really helped keep our budget on track! You're not as tempted to go over when you only have cash.

Now we use our credit card so that we get the rewards. But I still try to be careful, although the temptation is always there.

I like what you said about the financial goal. We go on vacation every four years, because it takes four years for us to save up for our Florida vacation. We usually go for two weeks, twice we've gone for three weeks.

We usually stay at cheap hotels, but last time we went we spent one week at a condo and the last two weeks we spent on Disney property. We got a discount for both the condo and the property, and that helped.

But as you said, it's easier to save up when you have a goal!

Thanks for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" today!

Alison Bayne said...

For me, it really helps to do my grocery shop online. That way I don't get tempted by the aisle of magazines, clothes, stationery etc, and I can easily see how much I am spending.
Found you when I linked up to the Frugal Tuesday blog hop - I'm your newest follower and glad to know you :)

Barb @ A Life in Balance said...

I also find it helps to stay out of stores unless I need to food shop. It's also less work since I have fewer receipts to enter in Quicken.

I would love for you to link up your post to my Fabulously Frugal linky.

Nicole said...

I love this! Thanks for the great tips and common sense!

Cindy said...

Excellent ideas! We live debt free--it has taken years to get here but we love it.
We raised 6 children in our starter home, on one income. Was it easy, no. Was it worth it--yes!
We could move to a bigger home but the kids are gone and the freedom of being debt free is just too nice.
We will stay here--upgrade appliances (I love to cook), enjoy our beautiful surroundings, we live at the base of a beautiful mountain and at the mouth of an amazing canyon.
The older you get the less you want. You realize what is truly important.

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