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Finances & Money Frugality

Impatience is Costly

By Nicki

The following is a guest article by Nicki at Domestic Cents. She’s a wife and mom living in the rural northeast of the United States. She decided to stop working a full-time job in order to care for her home and family when her daughter was about 1-1/2 years old. Learn a little more about her or to read her financial story.

If the two extremes are waiting too long and rushing along, then I’m the latter. Some might call this being impatient. Being efficient is one thing productive. Being impatient is something else completely: destructive.

Being impatient causes us to lose focus and make irrational decisions. It places our desires above reason and logic and common sense. Being impatient is what causes people to take out equity-maxed loans, purchase things they cannot afford, rush into relationships, gossip, and worry. Some examples:

  • You fall in love with the car at the dealership – so you buy it on the spot.
  • You must have those shoes – now.
  • You cannot wait to be married – so you settle.
  • You have got to know what’s going on – so you pry.
  • You can’t wait to have the dream home that’s way out of your price range – you buy it.
  • You’re dying for that new computer but don’t have the cash just yet – you finance it.
  • You’re impatient to get somewhere – you speed excessively. (CD: THAT’S ME!)
  • You’re impatient to know why your daughter is 5 minutes late – you worry and assume the worst.

The Cost of Impatience:

Your Money

There is no doubt that impatience wastes money. Ever had a speeding ticket? Ever felt sick when you realized how much something cost you in interest? When you have time to plan and save and think through your purchases you can avoid paying interest or even taking out loans. You are also able to research and find the best deal for a particular item. Waiting to purchase something until you are able to afford it saves you money!

Your Time

Impatience is not efficient. Although being impatient can make things happen faster, you usually end up creating more work for yourself in the end, delaying other things or making careless mistakes. When things are thought through and planned out, your time is used much more efficiently.

Your Relationships

Being impatient with people is costly. When you view others as always making you late, not completing tasks in your time frame or not learning things quickly enough, you give off an air of arrogance that few people can tolerate. Impatience pushes people away.

Tips for Improving Your Patience Level:

Focus on what rushing into something could cost you. Rushing into any big financial decision (car, house, new tractor) can be very costly. Rushing to conclusions will cost you your nerves and could cost you a relationship. Speeding in your car? We all know what that could cost.

Focus on how waiting could benefit you. The benefits are great. Waiting can lead to greater understanding, more informed purchases, better negotiating skills (because you’re more informed) and not wasting money.

Focus on the real reason you’re rushing. If you’re late for work, then you’re late. Speeding isn’t usually going to make that big of a difference. The real reason you’re rushing is because you didn’t plan your morning well enough to get out the door in time. The real fix is to rearrange your morning schedule. Why are you so impatient for that brand new car? It isn’t really because the one you have “just isn’t reliable,” it might have more to do with the fact that you’re slightly embarrassed driving it or that everyone you know has a nicer one. Rushing into a foolish purchase won’t solve the real problem – keeping up with the Jones’.

Recognize that you’re feeling impatient and …

  • Take a big, deep breath and think. Clear your head for a minute and think. Am I jumping to conclusions? Am I thinking on impulse and emotion?
  • Get a second opinion of the purchase (not an impulse shopper or an emotionally unstable friend – someone trustworthy). Frugal friends can often seem boring, but take their advice if you want to save money.
  • Walk away from the situation for 5 or 10 minutes – leave the car dealer or the store or the room and give yourself 10 minutes outside the situation. (CD: Actually, for big purchases like cars, you should walk away for a few months. It usually works for me)

This is one of those, “I need to take my own advice” posts. This is an area where I struggle. Are you like me? How have you learned to deal with impatience? What has it cost you?

About the author

Clever Dude

8 Comments

  • I think it’s important to take a deep breath, just a quick pause, before reacting. It gives you time to clear your head and get your bearings. I use this strategy whether I’m shopping for a new gadget, agreeing to a social commitment, or passing up that second donut. Impatience is a lack of control.

  • I am extremely impatient, not in the financial sense, but in the dealing with people sense and it does put a burden on relationships. I’ve isolated myself from people for years because of it. I don’t want kids because of it – well, that and other factors. But, there are certain things that I am perfectly happy to wait on, marriage for instance.

    Still, you have an excellent point. In the financial sense, I could use my DVD buying as the perfect example. I like DVDs, but I don’t necessarily need to own them right now, especially since I have a Netflix membership. I cancelled it briefly and my DVD buying went through the roof! But, I am a bit impatient to own those which I like to watch over and over again. I also don’t like to wait for the mail when I’m in the mood to watch them then and there. So, it is an expensive hobby/impatience.

    Excellent post! Makes you think about the areas of your life that impatience can effect.

  • Great post, Nicki. I’m guilty of a few of these. The worst financial decisions I’ve made were entirely because I was impatient. I’m doing better with it now, but patience, or lack of it, is an important factor that we need to be reminded of.

    Thanks!

  • Great post! This is definitely timely for me, as I am generally a very impatient person anyway, but now that we are in the process of moving, it’s getting much worse. I want our house to sell NOW, I want to find a new home NOW, and I want to be done with all of this NOW. Since none of that is happening I’m getting very stressed and taking it out on my poor husband. Your tips were really thoughtful, and I will most certainly be putting those into practice!

  • Great post. Let me spin it a bit different though. Impatience actually saves me money. I hate waiting in lines. I find if I really need something, I will wait (impatiently) and purchase it. But, if its more of a want and not a need, I find myself putting it back or getting out of line, saving me from purchasing it. An example was today as I pulled into McDonalds. I was hungry and just wanted a couple of McDoubles (always from the value menu) and sat in line behind a car to place my order. They didn’t take the order of the car ahead of me for 3-4 minutes. My impatience got to me and I thought to myself, I am a mile from home, go home and eat something there. So, I saved $2.21 today.

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