by Katy on February 20, 2009 · 10 comments





I drove up to Seattle last weekend to hang out with my sister over a delicious three day weekend. It’s a three hour drive each way, and not a particularly interesting one. (Unless of course, you’re a dull-freeway-enthusiast.) But I had some good CD’s to sing along with, and my ten-year-old son for company. 

My son set himself up in the backseat with a down throw, a small pillow and some art supplies. He informed me that it didn’t matter how long the car ride was, because he was, “patient.”


Okay . . . this is certainly situation dependent with this child, but I’ll take him at his word. 

This got me thinking about what patience is, and how it’s an undervalued trait. The gotta have it now mentality rarely leads a person to make good choices. This is true in so many aspects of life, and it’s certainly true in personal finance.

If one takes the time to really think through a purchase, it becomes less pressing, and can often be avoided altogether. 

But when something is needed RIGHT NOW, that’s when the budget flies out the window and money gets wasted.

Good questions to ask yourself when making a purchase are:

  • Is this something I really need to own?
  • Do I already own something that will do the trick?
  • Can I borrow this from family/friend/neighbor?
  • What happens if I don’t buy this?
  • Is there a downside to putting off this purchase?

By employing your patient side, it’s easier to practice conscious frugality. I’m participating in The Frugalista’s No-Buy-Month, so I’m having to be patient about any purchases I would normally be making. 

And you know what? My son was very patient, and there was not one utterance of “Are we there yet?”

Do you find that patience helps you with your frugality? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Magdalena February 20, 2009 at 6:41 am

My mother would say, “Patience is a virtue,” and she was certainly right, even though waiting for something was very difficult! My worst purchases and costliest mistakes were made on the spur of the moment


Amber February 20, 2009 at 8:59 am

Buying nothing new last year, there were times when I wanted something: a floor lamp, a full length mirror to help improve my yoga practice, a cast iron frying pan, a tea pot… Not being able to rush out to the nearest mall and buy those things I had to hold off and wait. Be patient.
Every time I went into a thrift store I would have a look for the items. One day I found both the cast iron frying pan and the tea pot. I love my tea pot. The apple green colour matches my kitchen decor and has a perfect non-drip spout. After reseasoning the frying pan, I use it almost more than anything else in my kitchen.
One day I was walking to the grocery store. I passed a house that had just finished having a yard sale. At the end of the driveway were the items that didn’t sell, that were being given away for free, including a floor lamp and full length mirror. They are now in my home.
Over and over again I’ve had this experience. If there is something that I want or need, when I am patient, when I hold off and take the time to source it second hand, ethically etc… I eventually find what I am looking for. It’s almost always just perfect, matches with my decor, and is very affordable, sometimes even free!
O.k. this is maybe going to sound really flaky, but there is almost something…I dunno…kinda spiritual about it. It reminds me of the variations in the gospels where the disciples speak, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
I guess what I mean to say, is that somehow in the process of letting go of impatient desires to have stuff right now, I have much more faith and gratitude for all the abundance in my life and the sense of being provided for.


Fabulously Broke February 20, 2009 at 11:38 am

I have patience, but it’s usually after some self reflection like “Do I just want this for the sake of wanting it? Or would I really use it?”

That usually weeds out the things I don’t need to buy 🙂


Kristen@The Frugal Girl February 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Absolutely! I’ve always been fairly good at the whole delayed-gratification thing, and I think that’s saved me a whole lot of cash.

It honestly doesn’t bother me to wait to buy something while I save up the money…I find it quite gratifying, actually. lol

My son is the exact opposite of me, though! He HATES waiting to buy things. We make him operate on a cash-only basis, though, so he does often have to wait to buy what he wants, due to a lack of funds.


Judy February 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm

In answer to Amber’s response about an almost spiritual thing about things wanted or needed coming into your life. I worked for a Christian social service agency several years ago where clothing and household items were given to the poor for free. Like a thrift shop for free. People would request household items and women in a back room would fill requests from donated items. It was uncanny how often something would just be donated and there would be a request for that item.


Kiki February 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Okay, so I try and live as frugally as possible by turning the heat down, clipping coupons, pinching pennies, getting hand me downs for the kids, etc. I’m so careful with money and then there’s Mr. Opposite who got a $1500 bonus at work today and came home today with a 42 inch HD tv and entertainment center/cabinet thing when there’s nothing wrong with the tv and furniture we already have. His response is he works hard and wants to enjoy his spare time watching baseball all spring on a really cool tv. Drives me nuts. It wouldn’t be so bad except this is for the upstairs den and did the exact same thing last summer for the downstairs living room. Last year it was done to impress his older brother who came to visit for the week. I know I can’t impose my lifestyle on someone else, but it’s killing me knowing we now have two perfectly good tv’s and entertainment centers sitting in the garage waiting to be donated or yard saled away. I think we should save the money or give more to charity, but he says it’s bonus money meant to spent on fun. Yikes……….


Magdalena February 21, 2009 at 11:06 am

Kiki, isn’t he imposing his lifestyle on you, though? Maybe you need to look for some middle ground here! I’ve had that experience with packrat roommates, who drag stuff home like magpies, and then say, “Isn’t this great?” when I’m thinking, yikes, where will that go? I know, I’m monastic in simplicity, and I get rid of stuff all the time. I’ve made big, expensive, drain the bank account mistakes in earlier years, everything from a new car with high payments, to the must-have clothes that got worn twice. Now, I’ll wait a couple of weeks to decide if I’m buying two coffee mugs at the thrift store. And I certainly agree with those who find that the Lord sends us what we need, although not necessarily what we want!


Klara Le Vine February 22, 2009 at 4:17 am


I know so well what you’re going through – then what needs to be done very badly is a reevaluation of what is most important in the big scheme of things – I find often my little ways of saving are having some impact on my family – when I’ve gone to empty the compost bucket and haven’t returned it to it’s place in time, I’m usually asked, where’s the compost bucket? We can’t control others (including they’re “imposing” on us) but we could choose how to look at it – it’s VERY difficult when we’re the ones making all the efforts to save and see such waste in our own home. My only sanity saving attitude is I can’t save the world, only what I can control – and just hope it has an impact.


tammy February 22, 2009 at 7:12 am

Again, I really love this blog and the comments. Amber, I love your “spiritual” feelings about finding items you want. Ask and it shall be give indeed! I am an expert at waiting and I find it i just put my “request” into the universe, the universe usually answers in astounding ways!
Kiki- hmmm- I thought Mr Opposite lived with me……


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