Thursday, September 18, 2014

Getting Rich And Spending Money Without Looking At Price Tags

Finally, the ability to spend money without looking at the price tag. You see the clothes you like, buy! You see that pair of shoes, buy! You see that air ticket, buy! Does this sound like financial freedom? I once heard someone said that you will know you have reached financial freedom when you can buy things without looking at the price tag. However, there's just one problem. You will never get rich or achieve financial freedom if you're living your life like this now.

Not looking at price tags sounds a bit too exaggerating. Most of us do look at price tags before we buy anything. Most of us even compare prices and try to buy at a discount. However, doing all these and you'll realise you're still poor. The problem lies in looking for stuffs to buy. But, its not just that. There's an even deeper secret to being rich.

Delayed gratification is one of the defining advantages in our human life. Somehow, some of us will be able to put off spending now for a better future. Ask a dog or a cat to save money for their future and you'll have to wait a thousand years for it to happen. The signs of delayed gratification shows up early in life. From the way kids behave, we can see if he or she has the patience or the willpower to persevere in times of trials. When given sweats or chocolates, some kids will keep them for later consumption while some kids will take the opportunity to consume everything when their parents are not looking. Kids who are able to hold off gratifying their desires instantly will do much better in life in the future with fewer money and debt problems. What goes on in the kids' brain when they think of keeping or eating the sweats?

Kids have good imaginations. They are also creative at that young age. They can imagine themselves to be super heroes or prince and princesses living in their own imaginary planet and castles. As we grow older, these imaginations start to fade away as we're caught up with the reality of this world. So what separates the instant gratification crowd from the people who can delay gratification? Why some kids keep the sweats while some pop it into their mouths instantly?

A research by the University of Pennsylvania shows that the key to saving money for the future might not be self-discipline, but rather the ability to imagine that tomorrow, indeed, is coming. It was written in an article I read here. Those who could imagine a better future with the money saved now will find that saving money is easier. It is the aspiration of living a financially free life later in the future that prompted many people, including me, to start saving.

A couple of years ago, I found some compelling edvidence that saving and investing money now will indeed reap many benefits in the near future. Yes its near and not when you're too old to walk or travel around. I found out that most people reach financial freedom in their early 40s and some even in their 30s when they delay some of the gratifications when they were younger in their 20s.

Putting off spending will be hard for people who only think of the now. It is always the thought that if I don't spend now, then I won't have the chance to spend again in the future which kills the discipline to save. The future seems far for these people. However, the future does arrive faster than what we thought. Putting off that impulse purchase might not seem much at first but it is the lifestyle that is being built which is important. If you earn $2000 and can survive with just $500 per month, you're saving $1500 a month. When your income increases to $3000 and you still maintain the $500 lifestyle, you now save $2500. Money in your bank account will multiply faster than what you thought and you'll reach the financially free stage much faster than imagined.

So, the next time you have the impulse to spend, think of what your future will be like if you continue living your current lifestyle. Will you retire at a young age or will you work to an old age? Kids have good imagination. Adults or young adults like us can have some imagination too.

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Related Posts:
1. Frugality is important even when you are rich
2. 7 factors that differentiate rich people from normal people


  1. Hello SGYI!

    Extremely well written post! I strongly agree with your points.
    It's the mentality that kills. Once you have laid down the thinking that those money saved today, even a little everyday, would end up yielding a sum you never have thought you could have.
    Further add that with the wonder of compounded interests, and you will be standing that the finishing line in no time saying "Who says magic is not real?" :)

    The Independent Abecedarian

    P.S. Thanks for the new comment settings ;)

    1. Hi TIA,

      I have a few other articles coming up. There's some interesting findings I had on retirement after a little reading the past few days.

      I always believe that a simple life is a happy life.

  2. Hi SGYI!
    Coincidentally, I also posted about something similar to Price Tags but you phrased it so much better!

    1. Hi Teenage Investor,

      I saw yours. It was good too. :)

  3. SGYI,

    I am impressed.

    You are the few younger bloggers who have stumbled on "imagination" ;)

    The synonyms of imagination are... (I think you know)

    Many focused on the vehicles or tools; they forget the internal combustion engine that drives these tools and vehicles.

    You have gone beyond the epidermis ;)

    1. Hi SMOL,

      Thank you for your kind words. I always wondered why its hard for some people find it hard to save money even with all the knowledge and tools available till I stumbled on the idea of imagination. Without a vision of the future, we humans are just living day by day without any goals. It's the imagination of a better future that prompts us to become a better person. This is also my own experience :)

  4. Nice article. My goal used to be that I want to step into any restaurant and order anything I like without looking at price tag. Sounded good at 25 to set such a goal. After all it is not fun to have to add up my meal and wife meal and actually feel it dents that months budget. I am a foodie.

    However as years went by and even though life has been very kind to me materially, I realize if one can accumulate wealth and earn more, it is still all hard earned money.

    So now for me, the goal is probably fulfilled now. I go into almost any restaurant, order what I like but my eyes still look at price to make sure not out of whack for the restaurant level. Meaning if hawker, not more than $4, if Italian joint, pasta not more than $28, meat/fish dishes not more than 38. if wine not more than $100, if really high class degustion meal not more than $180 unless special occasion.

    I guess that is financial freedom for a normal value oriented person. To order anything in the menu but still watch and make sure not out of whack for that level of restaurant.

    It will be fun to get more data points on spending relative to wealth and income levels. A start up I am involved in is doing just that. Also I maintain a blog at on entrepreneurship and investment.

    1. Hi Der Shing,

      I guess if we don't overpay for any products or service, we do help the economy as well. It prevents over wastage and over consumption. Nevertheless, if we can practice to live without luxuries, we can be happier in life. Not to say we don't spend on luxuries at all but we can actually indulge in luxuries once in awhile and not feel the need to always want more. It's another level of life where we are grateful for the things we have now.

  5. Hi SGYI,

    Recently came across your blog and find it really meaningful and informative for SGrean like me. Although we are taking different path, our goal is the same. Will be following your blog! Keep it up!


    1. Hi Chin Ye,

      Thank you for your kind words. :)