Patience is a curious thing. It is something we are taught as children and reminded of frequently as we grow older with the emphasis that it is an important quality to have – a real virtue. However, when asked if patience is a quality we possess, many of us can likely think of more instances where we’d prefer instant gratification to patiently waiting for the fruits of our labors to pay off. In today’s society, we are caught up in a need-it-now world, and anything short of that just seems like a giant waste of time.

Lack of patience gets us into a lot of trouble, specifically with our credit. The “gotta have it now” mentality is deadly to your credit score, yet we keep sliding that shiny plastic card as if our lives depended on having the latest fad. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the latest fad is a cycle with no end. Things that are hot this week are bound to be ice-cold the next. The same item that can be purchased for hundreds of dollars on the premiere date can also be purchased for half that price a few weeks later. By simply having patience, you can save yourself a substantial sum of money every year. Although you will not be able to blog or tweet along with every other fanatic that is bent on keeping up with the times, you, too, will have the same benefits at a much lower price shortly thereafter.

The “gotta have it now” mentality makes it all too easy to make rash decisions. A little piece of plastic is not an accurate representation of the money you have, nor does it represent the hefty amount of debt you’ll be in if you can’t keep your hands off it. We quickly spend money that we do not have without even realizing it, and charging items can cause you to incur a dangerous amount of debt in a very short time span. The better approach, while admittedly more difficult, is to save up enough money to purchase those must-haves with your own hard-earned cash. By waiting patiently, not only does the item you desire tend to drop in price, but the allure of the item often loses its appeal. Because the reality of cost versus value is more apparent when you’re paying cash, it might inhibit your spending habits a little.

When purchasing anything, whether it be the latest cell phone, a new car, or that big screen TV you’ve had your eye on, there are important things to consider:  Do you really have to have it right now?  Is it possible that you could just as easily wait until you can afford it without the assistance of your credit card? How long would it take you to save the cash to pay for it?

Patience is not only a virtue; it is the best credit tool you could possibly have. Don’t fall to the “gotta have it now” mentality. If it isn’t on the list of basic necessities to live, chances are you really don’t need it right now. Adopting an “it can wait” mentality will save you incalculable amounts of money and protect your credit score.

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