By in Automatic Saving, Budget, Saving | 14 comments


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?


  1. I always have a list because I need one! Otherwise I forget things. I use lists to set goals and I love to cross off things as I accomplish them. During the day, I make notes to myself to remind me of things. I add those things to my master list. This works for me!


    March 2, 2012

  2. I’ve been a list maker since I was about 13. I sometimes go off the list, but it’s usually because I can recognize a bargain on an item I actually will need within the next 12 months.

    In my experience the older you get the less important things become.


    March 2, 2012

  3. I write lists for everything! My bad habit is making the lists on little scraps of paper, which then get lost! I am looking forward to reading the posts for Women’s Money Week.


    March 2, 2012

  4. Fully agree. Not only would I be helplessly wandering around the store if I didn’t have a grocery list – but I’d likely spend twice as much as well. Using a list saves us time and money!

    Julie @ Freedom 48

    March 3, 2012

  5. @Krantc-Sounds like you’re really organized!!
    @Maggie, Melissa, and Julie-They are so helpful to keep you organized. I share Melissa’s pitfall of writing lists on scraps and losing them. Or I write my list in one of my many notebooks and still lose track. 🙂


    March 3, 2012

  6. I have a very similar system to @Krantcents, I can’t function properly without lits and constantly need to remind myself of what needs to be done. As for shopping, if it isn’t on the list in our house then it doesn’t get bought 😉

    Shaun @ Money Cactus

    March 4, 2012

  7. A Shaun- Sounds like you are quite well disciplined.


    March 4, 2012

  8. Hi Barb..Discipline is very important in every thing we do whether it will be for business, everyday life and even a lot of things that we do to achieve our goals…


    March 5, 2012

  9. Little changes eventually add up to big ones. I wish I had started down the correct financial path long ago instead of having to figure out how to “catch up.” Oh, how hindsight is 20/20. 😉

    Little House

    March 5, 2012

  10. A common strategy is to buy and repair a rental property, so that several other families have a place to live. This is an alternative to just ‘invest it’ in the stock market.


    March 5, 2012

  11. Great tip Barb! Good discipline wins, always!


    March 6, 2012

  12. Excellent point! Thanks for the tips.. 🙂


    March 6, 2012

  13. I’m participating in Women’s Money Week next week. Women have historically been laggards when it comes to finances. Its encouraging to participate in here..


    March 14, 2012


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