Self-control – it’s not always easy, especially with the ‘everything-on-demand’ lifestyle surrounding us. It’s much easier to simply swipe a credit card and get what you want instead of having to speak to a financial advisor about fluctuating unit trust prices and/or returns, right? However, unnecessary spending can result in having to withdraw from an investment product to cover debt.
This begs the question, ‘what can be done to curb temptation?’ Here are six tips to help you bolster self-control by understanding why willpower sometimes succumbs to spending money excessively.
Find a balance
The ability to keep levelheaded and sustain willpower can be much more achievable if you find a balance. Yes, committing to a long-term financial goal can be daunting, but saving doesn’t have to mean sacrificing all of life’s luxuries. Treat yourself to small rewards for remaining dedicated to your savings goal – there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence.
Self-control diminishes with time
You may start out the month with a solid plan to stick to a budget and save whatever is left over at the end of the month – but it may not always work out that way and when the month-end comes along, there’s no money to save. A great way to avoid this situation is to set up a debit order dedicated to savings at the beginning of the month. By implementing this strategy, you’re guaranteed to save.
During times of stress, it can be difficult to maintain self-control; emotions take over and an impulse purchase to make yourself feel better can be extremely tempting. The problem: once logic kicks back in, you regret the choice you made. If you’re a stress-spender, it’s a good idea to identify your stress triggers and avoid tempting situations.
Misinterpretation of cues
Mental cues induce a response or action, but it’s possible to misinterpret a cue and make an incorrect decision. Recondition your perception of a particular cue. For example, instead of seeing money in your bank account as a cue to spend, you can recondition yourself to see it as a cue to put a portion into an investment product.
Our biggest enemies are our entrenched patterns
We are all creatures of habit and therefore it can be deduced that we don’t respond well to change, especially when it comes to making financial decisions. If you feel you may be entrenched in bad financial habits, it’s best to identify them and turn them into positive habits. For example, if you receive extra money, rather invest it than simply say you’re going to save the money – this is a commitment, not simply a stated goal. A mindset such as this is a good way to help resist temptation and build good habits.
Sticking to long-term goals can be marred by self-doubt and potentially cause irreparable damage to financial objectives. Belief in the choice that you’ve made can reinforce self-control. Reassure yourself that investing in a savings product can improve your quality of life in the future.
The bottom line: If you want to achieve a specific objective, willpower and keeping a level head are key to financial success.
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