A Funny Look at Discipline

Written and accurate as at: 10 June 2011

Before credit cards, some things were really simple.

If you want to buy something, get the money together first. That could be done by earning and saving it, selling off something you already have, or stealing. The latter not recommended.

If you were unable to get the money together, then it was simple. Keep saving.

Such simplicity taught basic financial discipline.

Then along came unsecured personal credit, sold as “credit cards” and “store credit”. If you didn’t have the money to buy, you can just charge it. Buy now and hopefully repay later.

This small change makes a big behavioural difference where poor savings habits become rewarded. We removed the punishment for poor saving (you couldn’t get what you want), and turned it into a rewarding experience of immediate gratification.

If you are a little financially loose at the moment, try out these six financial discipline steps.