Friday 14th June 2024

Beat debt through the power of delayed gratification 

Tolu Frimpong discusses how to beat debt using delayed gratification

If you want to beat debt, delayed gratification could be a powerful tool. The temptation of instant gratification often clashes with the necessity of responsible money management.

From the seasonal celebrations to the recent adoption and popularity of Black Friday in the UK, it’s never been more challenging to resist the craving to buy things we often don’t need.

However, embracing the concept of delayed gratification can lead to faster debt reduction. In this blog, we’ll explore the power of delayed gratification in overcoming debt and achieving long-term financial goals. 

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Imagine this: It’s September 2024, and you’ve been saving up for an iPhone 15 for the last few months. You read the news, and Apple has announced the release of the new iPhone 16.

Instead of getting excited and distracted by the prospect of getting your hands on that new model when it’s released, you decide to avoid taking out a new mobile phone contract to get your hands on it.

Instead, you stick to your original plan of saving up to buy the refurbished iPhone 15 outright in a few months instead of acquiring the new debt. Sticking to your savings goal is an excellent example of practising delayed gratification. 

Read more by Tolu on Mouthy Money

Benefits of delayed gratification to beat debt 

Embracing delayed gratification offers many benefits on the journey to beat debt. Firstly, it builds character and resilience. You can develop the self-discipline essential for overcoming financial challenges by resisting the impulse to indulge in your immediate wants.  

Additionally, delayed gratification accelerates debt repayment. Instead of succumbing to impulsive purchases that further inflate debt, you can channel your resources towards debt reduction, accelerating the achievement of your debt-free goal. 

Another great benefit of delayed gratification is that it allows you to spend money that aligns with your core values and principles.

Rather than making hasty decisions to fund fleeting desires, you will make deliberate choices that reflect your long-term priorities. This not only creates a sense of fulfilment, but it also reduces the likelihood of accumulating additional debt. 

There’s also an argument that prioritising delayed gratification improves mental health. When you control your impulses, you experience a sense of empowerment and self-assurance, enhancing your overall well-being. That ability to exercise restraint in your spending habits will empower your belief that you can achieve your ultimate debt freedom goal.  

A final benefit of delayed gratification, which is easy to overlook, is that it can reduce clutter. By carefully considering purchases and resisting impulse buys, you can avoid accumulating unnecessary stuff, which will result in a clearer and more organised living space.  

Strategies to build the ability to practise delayed gratification 

Now you’ve been convinced of the benefits of practising delayed gratification, let’s explore a few practical strategies you can put in place to build it. One effective strategy is the 72-hour rule.

Before making any non-essential purchase, commit to waiting at least 72 hours. During this time, reflect on whether the item aligns with your long-term goals and whether the purchase is essential. More often than not, the initial desire goes, and you will no longer want to buy the item.  

Another strategy I often use and find very impactful is asking myself, how many hours of my life will this cost? For example, if you earn £20 per hour and a pair of boots costs £140, you would need to work seven hours to afford them.

By framing purchases in this way, you will gain a clearer perspective on the value of your time and whether the item is actually worth the investment. This shift in mindset encourages thoughtful spending and reinforces the importance of prioritising long-term financial goals over immediate desires. 

Tolu Frimpong

Mouthy Blogger

Tolu is a Money Coach and Content Creator, passionate about helping others break the payday-to-payday cycle and achieve their financial goals, through the power of intentional budgeting, saving and investing. When she’s not talking about money you can find her spending time with her 3 boisterous boys.

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