I’ve been assigned with the task of buying (strike) getting prizes for this week’s Social Work Month party on Friday night (by the way, yes, it is National Social Work Month, so be nice to your favorite social worker), so I delved into the paper and decided to stop by OfficeMax because there were some things for under $5 that would make decent prizes. Also in the OfficeMax ad in Sunday’s paper was a special on a Mio Digiwalker C220 GPS unit that I really want.

It’s high on my want scale.

It’s not high on my need scale.

Going into a store–any store–exposes you to stuff you don’t need, but might want. That’s the whole idea behind a store. You may come in for one thing you really need, but five hundred others that you might want but don’t really need start poking their heads out to scream, “Buy me! Buy me!”

A budget or a spending plan or whatever you want to call it is a plan. Everyone has a plan, in the words of Mike Tyson, until they get punched in the mouth. Those on special items are screaming at you to distract you in the hopes that one of them–or more–will punch you in the financial mouth and get to jump into your shopping cart.

When I can keep these thoughts in my head and enter a store, I’m armed with my counterpunches: I know just what the goal of the sale is, and I know how to avoid it. In fact, I’m determined to be disciplined and stick to my plan, and restrain myself from buying something I want in favor of getting just what I need. I’m motivated; it’s like playing a game and trying to beat the other person.

It’s not always fun to go with discipline and restraint, but doing so helps me get to my goals faster. If making a game of it helps me to get there faster, then I’ll play a game. What I know is that I control the dollars in my wallet and how they get spent, and I don’t have to fall victim to the goal of the sale. And if I do so using discipline and restraint, I get one step closer to my end goal: financial independence, which I don’t need a GPS unit to locate.

22 Responses to “Frugality in Practice: Discipline and Restraint”

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