Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. In today's society, we tend to go for immediate gratification when it comes to our wants and needs. It's funny — I just read a great post how one person replace their current wants with less expensive alternatives and ultimately got a major need in less than three years - a $10,000 down payment on a house - see link.
The best way to define the difference between the two is to sit down (and if you have a spouse/partner, sit them down too) and list all of your current wants. And then list all of your future wants.
The list above is a great example of one of these pages. It's simple, straightforward, and gets to the point quickly. How would this person move the focus from their current wants to the things they want the most?
- Starbucks Every Day - make your own coffee. At an average of $3 per day, they would save over $1000 each year.
- 2 New Cars Every Three Years - Buy used cars and forgo the $300-$400 per month payment (2x). Yearly savings = $10,000 per year.
- Big Screen TV - Stick with your old 36" that works just fine. Savings = $2000.
- Full Cable - Eliminate Cable and watch Netflix - $100/month to $7.95/month. Savings = $1,104/yearly.
- 3-4 Vacations Per Year - Family of four - Average vacation costs $3-4K - Only take 1 vacation and add very small weekend trips. Savings = $12,000/yearly.
- New Clothes - Slow down your clothes purchases. Savings = $2000/yearly.
- New iPhone Every Year - Savings = $200-300 (depending on cancel/exchange fees).
Add it up . . . we're looking at a potential (be calm, I'm ball-parking it here as an example) of $28,404 the first year and $15-25K every year after (you'll need another used car, TV, etc. someday).
If you stick to your plan of NOW vs. MOST - over 10 years, you'll have $200-250K in your savings account. What can you now pick off from the list on the right?
Okay - this is simple math - but I'm doing it to prove a point. You can exchange your NOW wants with your MOST wants. Instantly. And all it takes is just a simple piece of paper. And a lot of DISCIPLINE.
Some tools to help you? Here you go:
- Reddit SimpleLiving: http://www.reddit.com/r/simpleliving/
- Reddit Frugal: http://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/
- Zen Habits (one of my favorite blogs): http://zenhabits.net/
- Clark Howard: http://www.clarkhoward.com/
Or you can just work harder, longer, or maybe take 2 extra jobs.
How's that working for you?