One of the keys to saving money is cultivating the ability to delay gratification. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done for many of us. Putting off pleasure today in anticipation of tomorrow’s needs doesn’t come naturally to many people. However, there are ways to overcome your natural inclinations and develop more thoughtful spending habits. Here are a few you should try.

1. Have a clear vision of yourself in the future. It’s much easier to want to take care of the future you if you have a picture in your head of what you’ll be doing in 5, 10, 15 years, and beyond as well as a firm plan for getting there.

Knowing what you want and how you’ll get it makes the reasons for resisting temptation seem much more clear and real than having just vague ideas.

2. Find ways to distract yourself. It’s much easier to resist temptation after we’ve forgotten all about it. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t have right now, throw yourself into doing other activities that you enjoy.

Fill your life with lots of activity and good friends and you’ll find that you won’t dwell so much on buying things or trying to fill time by spending money.

3. Don’t test your willpower to the point of exhaustion. Depriving yourself too much can make it more difficult for you to stay on track in the future. Just like an overly stringent diet can lead to binge eating, an unrealistically strict budget can lead to uncontrolled splurges.

Plan a bit of fun money into your budget so that you can let loose every now and…

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