Every now and then I go to the library and get a book on frugal living/spending. After I read the "frugal book" I spend a whole lot less for quite a while. Works for me every time.
If I have a goal to look forward to, it helps to know that in the future I'll be getting something better, than I'd get if I spent the money now on instant gratification stuff.
It the professor in the article could have presented the daughter with a goal of what the money could offer her in the future, instead of just offering the money, maybe she would have taken the free education at the professor's university. But who can predict what kids will do at that age...if all the friends, or just one friend is going to another school, they may choose the same path as the friend.
Sometimes the answer is not to cross an old bridge, nor to burn it, but to build a better bridge.
I find that when I am successful in keeping my attention/focus on 'here & now' (requires a significant effort), a side benefit is increasing gratitude and the realization that I am very, very wealthy, and actually need very little, if anything, more to be happy. (I think Alexia was alluding to this perspective.) .I can walk, talk, see, laugh, etc.; that a little hunger makes most everything delicious (beans and rice can go a long way); I can solve puzzles and make stuff (see book "Flow") etc. Rich indeed, especially when almost half the world lives on $2/dy. And saved $ makes me even richer! in actuality and potential.
(btw, in my olden days, staying out of stores used to help take the pain out of limited income, but, now with the internet, that strategy doesn't quite work
It's time to get positive about negative thinking -Art Donnelly
What helps me is that I figure you can be an exploiter, or a helper. I try to consume as little as I can, so I have more to help others - and more to acquire land to protect.
My gratification isn't from what I buy, but from what I build. After all, when I buy something, it wasn't me who made it. A tomato I grow is so much more enjoyable than one I buy, because more of me is invested.
I find money cold, so easy to use it, lose it. But land, especially land you are improving, is priceless. After all, if you know what you are doing, you aren't going to starve, if you have land - and we sure aren't going to freeze here, either.
Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
Fred - I agree totally with the idea of consuming as little as possible and using the savings to buy land.
I managed to get out of debt, finally, about 18 months ago and have been skimping and saving putting a little cash aside every time I could. Which has meant that I'm now in the position of being able to afford a lovely little patch of land that's just come up for sale outside my village, which is mostly wooded and should keep us going in firewood pretty well forever. And there's a grassy patch on it just perfect for any relatives who want to escape and build themselves a log cabin or somesuch. It seems an amazing reward for a few months of careful spending.
Knowing to how spend the money wisely and being frugal is important in order to save more money. I think i need to learn more about TMS, who knows I might turn into a saver rather than a spender. I'm pretty sure my wife will be very about it.