Oftentimes, when it seems easier to do the wrong thing (like, it’s easier to spend some money now to get some immediate gratification) instead of the right thing (like, avoid spending money unnecessarily), it can get easier to do the right thing if I find a different way of thinking about it.
Sure, I might like to have something from one of the restaurants next door to my office. There’s a lot of ways to spend money: sandwiches, ice cream, doughnuts, pastries, iced coffee. I could easily spend $5 or $10 there every day. And why shouldn’t I? I work hard. I deserve a treat.
Then I think of my future self. I see myself 20 or 30 years from today. What about him? Don’t I want him to be as comfortable as possible? Maybe he would like to have money for a sandwich or some ice cream.
It’s as simple as that. The more I spend today, the less I can give to my future self. So, when I’m at work, if I can make do with the food I’ve brought from home, I can give a bit more to my future self.
- Spending now is taking money away from my future self.
- Saving now is giving money to my future self.
(And spending now by borrowing now, by means of charging today’s spending on a credit card and then having to pay interest, now that’s really taking money away from my future self!)