Minimalist Living 101: Delayed Gratification

minimalist living Sep 02, 2020

Minimalist Living 101: Delayed Gratification

As we continue our Minimalist Living 101 series (check out last month's post on batching), the concept of delayed gratification must be addressed.

What is delayed gratification? It is the concept of putting something off that is not truly or immediately needed, which means we can put our money, energy, and time towards other things. Sometimes putting things off makes us more able to do better things later, simply because we were patient.

For the video version of this post, click here to watch it

Delayed gratification is so important because we live in a society of instant gratification, whether it's with concepts of fast food, "buy now, pay later", or two-day shipping. We are constantly trained to want things right away, and not have to wait for them. While there can be situations where this is beneficial, it also leads us to act more irrationally or make impulsive choices.

How can you practice delayed gratification in your own life? Here are some examples of how my husband Jake and I have practiced it in our own life!

Delayed Gratification Examples

1. Where We've Lived: Rather than going for an apartment or house that was "too nice, too soon", we have made gradual improvements over time. This has allowed us to be grateful for what we have and for gradual upgrades, and has helped us save a lot of money in the process.

2. Bathroom Remodel: The condo we currently live in has one of the ugliest bathrooms I have ever seen in my life, but we have waited nearly 2 years before renovating it. Putting this off helped us focus on other projects and financial goals first, making sure that we were truly ready to begin this project now.

3. Buying a House: We rented different apartments for 4.5 years before purchasing property. Some people make the argument that you are "throwing away" your money while renting, but it's not that simple. After factoring in property taxes, interest rates, and other costs like PMI or required maintenance, it may be more cost effective to rent longer and save up more. Waiting longer to buy allowed us to put 50% down, and we are hoping to have our house completely paid off in the next year! 

4. Having Kids: While every couple is different, we didn't even start trying to have kids until we had been married for over five and a half years. This time to ourselves has been invaluable and allowed us to grow together and learn more about who we are, before we focus on expanding the family.

5. Taking a Belated Honeymoon: We got married right after college, and only had money coming in from our summer jobs. We kept our wedding costs very low, but knew we would not be able to take much of a honeymoon. Therefore, we waited one full year before taking our honeymoon, and we were able to enjoy a 6-week trip to Europe! This was definitely worth the wait!

6. Individual Purchases: Even waiting an extra 24 hours can make a big difference in preventing impulse purchases. Sometimes, our desire for an item passes during that time, or we can make a more informed decision about whether we need something or not. 

7. Grocery Shopping: Have you ever gone grocery shopping before you truly needed it? We have done this before, but when we purchase more food before going through what we have, we are much more likely to waste food, which is not good for our wallets or the planet. Even waiting one additional day to buy groceries can be a big help!

8. Furniture: The furniture in our home has largely come from others or was purchased used. While this means that not everything goes together perfectly, at least in our case, we know that we were able to use what already existed and not have to buy a bunch of new pieces. When we do make the decision to upgrade something in our home, it is very exciting and we can make an intentional choice.

How have you practiced delayed gratification in your life? Head over to this video to comment!


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