Ikea customer says, “I love those light fixtures.”

The partner replies, “Come on, it’s not on the list.” (eavesdropping transcript from IKEA)

That simple exchange left me speechless. Then made me anxious. Were the items I was purchasing “on the list”? Whew, yes they were. It’s so ingrained in me to shop with a list, I sometimes don’t even think about it.

Do You Have the Discipline to be Wealthy?

 Wealth in money and life are made up of a string of smart decisions.

I learned “list making 101” from my parents at a very young age. We made “to do” lists, grocery shopping lists, and going to the mall lists. My daughter, now in her 20’s, said when she discovered at a young age that she could write an item on the refrigerator shopping list and I would buy it, it seemed like magic. Not exactly, the entries for candy and treat food were not automatically put into the shopping cart! But I give her credit for ingenuity.

That couple in Ikea exemplified the single minded determination to stick to a goal. They obviously had a budget and specific items they planned to purchase. Would one splurge have made a huge financial difference in the long term? Probably not. But, a lifetime of self indulgence and “I deserve it” type of thinking causes a life filled with financial stresses.

Financial Implications of Self Indulgence

Imagine two couples; disciplined couple one, the Smarty’s and indulgent couple two, the Spendy’s. Assume these couples were identical in income and location.

The Smarty’s Habits

The Spendy’s Habits

  • Shop frequently without a list.
  • Treat themselves to indulgences whenever they feel like it.
  • Don’t bother contributing to their retirement fund because they believe in LIVING FOR TODAY.

Outcome of Smart Money Habits

Look at the amazing wealth amassed from a small amount of money. The Smarty’s saved $40.00 per week from avoiding impulse shopping. They added that $40.00 per week to their investment account and let the magic of compounding return work.


On the other hand, the Spendy’s were self indulgent. When they wanted something, they bought it. The Spendy’s filled their lives with impulse purchases.

The outcome? It’s unlikely that this spur of the moment spending made them any happier or more fulfilled. It’s probable that this spending filled their lives with clutter, bills, and stuff. Not to mention that later in life, they certainly lacked the necessary funds to retire.

 Self indulgent splurges are quickly forgotten. Saving and discipline lead to long term wealth and feelings of self control and strength.

Little Changes Matter

Spend a minute examining that NOT SPLURGING chart. Invest just $40.00 per week and be over four hundred thousand dollars richer at age 65. 

Do you have the discipline to say no to yourself?

SECRET SAVINGS TIP; The simple strategy of sticking to a shopping list can yield monumental results.

Caveat; I didn’t say never splurge. We all need rewards and splurges in our lives. The trick is to plan for these indulgences and make them meaningful.

Women’s Money Week

Women's Money Week 2012 Participant

I’m participating in Women’s Money Week next week. Women have historically been laggards when it comes to finances. This week is about encouraging women to speak up about money, take control of our finances, and reshape our financial future. Women’s Money Week will run from March 5th-11th, 2012 on — coinciding with International Women’s Day.

Following are a few of the participating blogs in Women’s Money Week (I’ll include a few more each day next week):

Are you a list maker or not? How do you handle splurges and indulgences?

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