Do you really need it right now?

Getting your expenses under control can seem a bit intimidating at first. But like any journey of a thousand miles, the key lies in focusing on the process  one step at  a  time.  We  have  already  discussed  how  finding  comparable  products  and services as well as not always buying  brand new items  can help your money to go further  each  month.  But  an  even  greater  control  over  your  finances  can  be achieved by asking yourself: “Do I really need this right now?”

There can be no denying it: we have to spend money to live. However, it is not only how  we spend it but also when  we spend it that can make a difference. Let’s look at an example.

A farmer plants an orange  tree  to  share with  his family  and  to  provide  some  cash  when  he  sells the extra oranges at the market each year. Now let’s say that the farmer wants to buy a new tool to use around the farm. Where should the money come from? An impatient farmer might cut down  the tree and sell the wood  to get  the tool, whereas a patient farmer will wait until he gets the money from the oranges  and  then  he  will  buy  the  tool  with  that.  At the  end  of  the  day,  he  will have both the tool and the tree.

Ask yourself: “What kind of farmer am I?” When you earn money from your job, that money is like  a fruit-bearing tree. You can wait and let that money make you more money, or you can spend it right away. When you spend your money right away instead of investing it first, you shortchange yourself.  How so? By being  like the  patient  farmer,  you  could  have  invested  that  money  into  a  cash  producing asset that would give you the cash to buy what you want and  then  would  keep producing cash long afterwards.

Investing our money in assets and  then letting those assets make our purchases for us is like the farmer who sells his oranges but who never cuts down the tree. If he waits just a little bit, he can have it all.

Let’s look at another example where timing is important, even in little ways.  Do you like to buy fresh produce when you go to the store? A lot of Americans enjoy seeing the bright colors of the produce aisle on their weekly trips to the store. But they may end up spending way more on  items that are out of season and  which have to be shipped  from far away  instead of just waiting a few weeks for locally grown  produce  that  is  harvested  in  its  season.  Buying  fruit  out  of  season  can come with a hefty price tag asking double or even triple the normal value. Do you

really need an apple in March? Can’t you have an orange instead?

Scientists  even  have  a  name  for  the  ability  to  wait  for  things  that  we  want: delayed  gratification.  The  key  is  to  focus  on  the  results  of  our  sacrifices  in  the interim.  So  while  it may  not  be  very  much  fun  to  have  to  wait  for  that  car,  flat screen TV, or for that expensive trip to Hawaii that we want so badly, paying for it later on  with money  produced by our assets (instead of using our salary money now)  will  ensure  our  financial  future  both  now  and  later  instead  of  sacrificing future security for some temporary fun.

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