In my experience (I may look innocent, but trust me, I’ve been around a bit), where I see most people fail when it come to money, is they are too impatient.
Society today is very much focused on the “Go! Go! Go!” attitude. Everything must be done quickly and everything must be instant. We see something – we must buy it now. We try something – we must see instant results.
Impatience affects finance in two main ways:
- you spend money you don’t have (credit cards and personal loans) to get things you want.
- you don’t leave your savings long enough for them to start working for you.
Both of these leave you with less money than you should have which is a Very Bad Thing. I have fallen into this trap many times and I’m only now starting to make my way out.
The main way to combat these are simply to stop and wait a little. Take it slow, baby.
Never take anything on short-term credit unless you can pay the balance within a month. That shiny new gadget isn’t going anywhere (I’m using gadgets as an example because they’re my big weakness). Besides, if you wait a while you can usually avoid “Early Adopter” problems like software bugs, stock shortages, etc, and leave you free to hunt for savings as retailers try and undercut each other to get sales.
Instead, show some restraint. Keep putting money into your savings. I advocate having two savings accounts – one for building a “nest egg” of sorts and one for saving for luxuries. By letting these sit for a while you’ll start earning interest. Before you realise it you’ll have enough to buy the deluxe, enhanced special-edition version of what you wanted in the first place!
Leaving your savings to do their thing is one reason I’ve been able to pay off Â£11,000 of bad debt in the last couple of years, even though I’ve still been indulging my passion for new technology!