Saturday, March 1, 2014

Do You Really Need Those Yoga Pants? And Other Musings On Delayed Gratification

Today I was waisting time on Instagram and came across a friend's picture of her wearing some fabulous leopard yoga pants.  I was in love.  I have a slight problem with leopard items (to the point where the boy refers to me as Peg Bundy) and had to have them, so I asked her where I could possibly procure this article of clothing.  She responded back and sent me to the Kira Grace website.  


Well imagine my disappointment when I saw that the price tag on these babies was $98. I was actually considering buying them despite the hefty bill, because they're that fucking awesome, but ultimately had to close out the browser window and settle for pinning them for the time being.  It sucked. A tear was shed.

Now I can certainly afford this item now.  The shitty reality is that I shouldn't buy these pants that would make me feel like a badass and quite possibly help me nail my crow pose (okay not really, but at this price they should) because I want bigger and better things that require saving and paying down my debt.  For example, I would like to pay down the almost $150,000 worth of student loan debt that I accrued in undergraduate and graduate school.  I would also like to get married soon and buy a house and have a child and buy a new car and... you get the point.

The problem that has arisen in my late 20's is that I've realized how expensive shit is.  It would be nice to have these pants, get my nails done whenever I would like, go out to eat all the time, and take a trip anywhere I want, but these are all things I shouldn't do.  I know I'm being so negative aren't I.  The reality is that I just can't yet afford to do and have everything I ever wanted now if I also want things later.  It's called delayed gratification, or the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward, and it's a bitch.

I'm sure at one point you've heard of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment where researchers presented small children with the option of having a marshmallow immediately or waiting for two rewards later.  They found that the children who were able to exercise their willpower and wait for the rewards had better life outcomes.  Crazy right?  Being able to delay your gratification actually relates to cognitive processes like your executive functioning (e.g. inhibiting your responses) and makes you a better human.  Now I won't get all into the nitty gritty about this and will keep the psychologist in me on lockdown, but my point is that delaying gratification can have positive benefits. 

This doesn't make not being able to buy those pants any less sucky (yes, I said "sucky"), but it helped me to refocus what's important to me. Looking that far into the future for things like a home when I only just started renting can be very daunting at times, but as I get older I've noticed that life moves faster and things you thought were far away will be here in no time.  So with that I've recommitted myself to prioritizing my money and not spending so blindly.  I even implemented a self-imposed restriction of no clothes purchases for 6 months to see if this helps at all (stay tuned to see how this turns out).  And in the meantime I will share here how I'm making progress with my debt and life goals.  I would also love some advice on how you all have saved money and achieved your goals?  

2 comments:

  1. I am laughing out loud right now because after a very cranky Saturday morning I went out and bought myself a pair of leopard print flats. Retail therapy at its finest. However, most days I am pretty sensible and don't need the instant gratification. Saving money for the bigger things in life is hard when you absolutely have to have those shoes, or that dress or that necklace. But, I find writing down my saving goals and keeping track on paper (not just by looking at my accounts online) helps me see the money add up!

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  2. Thanks for the insight lady. Talking to you about future planning and making things work has totally helped to make my goals seem more attainable. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about a book I'm reading that is changing my view on everything!

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