First Person: Delayed Gratification Saves Us Money

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Sometimes when it comes to our money -- and a lot of other things for that matter -- a little patience can go a long way. While lately, I'm seeing less and less such patience in this world of technologically-provided immediate self-gratification, I'd like to think that it hasn't been completely sucked out of all of us.

I've been amazed at how just a little delayed gratification can go a long way in bolstering our finances. Sometimes it does so with big savings, other times, just little amounts here and there. But even the little amounts can add up over time.

The following are just a few of the many examples in which having a little patience has paid off financially for our family.

Our Bookshelf Experience…the Dumpster Dive

I know there are plenty of people out there who will turn their nose up at the thought of repurposing someone else's leftovers…especially if it comes from the trash. And I'm not talking food here…even I'd turn my nose up at that.

What I'm referring to here is actual stuff that's perfectly fine, in decent shape, and that could be used again with a little work. As an example, I'll use the bookshelf we got just the other day.

When we moved into our condo last spring, we were in need of a small bookshelf for our son's room. We had sold his old bookshelf when we moved (thinking we wouldn't need it), but realized we had made a mistake after our relocation. My wife and I talked about buying a new one but weren't willing to spend $100 since it really wasn't that big of a deal. I told my wife to be patient and that I bet we'd find one over the summer at a garage sale for a few bucks. Amazingly, summer came and went without such a find, but I hadn't given up hope just yet. I knew that since we were in no hurry, one would turn up sooner or later, and living in an urban environment, it was only a matter of time.

Lo and behold, the other day, the perfect sized bookshelf turned up beside our condo complex's garbage area. It was clean (I cleaned it again anyway just in case), sturdy, in great shape, and even had wheels on the bottom. Better yet, it was completely free!

How We Didn't Buy an Electric Fireplace

Several years ago, my wife was itching to buy an electric fireplace. At the time we lived in a large home and the furnace was old. The thing shot our utility bills up like crazy and I hated to run it. Therefore, I'd often keep the thermostat lower, which my wife did not like at all.

Therefore, I was willing to hear out her arguments for an electric fireplace, and was almost tempted myself. I figured that $300 for such a fireplace would likely be cheaper over the long run than our excessive utility bills, but asked my wife to let me do a little research first.

In the course of my Internet reading on electric fireplaces, I began to realize that the heating components in such fireplaces are in many cases not much different from those tiny $10 space heaters that I see on sale at the home supply stores each winter. In fact, some were exactly the same wattage. Therefore, guess what? My wife got two electric heaters (for a cost of about $20) rather than her $300 electric fireplace, and they did the job just as well.

By waiting just a little while and doing some research first, I saved us a decent chunk of change.

A New Set of Tires

Recently, our vehicle was in need of a new set of tires. My wife was all set to head back to the place we purchased our last set of tires from, but I asked her to hold off for an hour while I hit the Internet.

I found a few locations offering deals, some of which were for lower prices, but the reviews on these locations weren't so hot. Not wanting our tires to fall off while driving, I kept looking, and in the process, we made a few phone calls around town. After about 45 minutes, we ended up calling a place that we'd had work done on our vehicle before and that we knew was reliable. We saved ourselves $300 compared to where we purchased last time.

So it doesn't even always have to be long periods of delayed gratification that can pay off significantly when it comes to savings.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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