Discipline and enjoyment are the secret to saving

We live in a world where it’s easy to get almost anything we want without delay, thanks to technology. With a simple press of a button on our phones, we can buy anything online: groceries, takeaway food, household items… It’s all too easy, which is why most of us have developed a habit of wanting everything now! Instant gratification releases endorphins in our brains that make us feel happy.

Sadly, these pleasure-seeking habits don’t encourage thinking about tomorrow and they certainly don’t foster a culture of saving and investing. There’s too much spontaneity and self-indulgence, rather than reasoned planning.

It’s natural and understandable to seek pleasure now. But the secret to a happy life in which there are no financial hardships is pursuing delayed gratification – the ability to put off our desire for immediate fulfilment to receive something even better later. Delayed gratification leads to self-regulation and self-control, both key ingredients of saving and investing.

Set realistic goals for saving and investing

Delaying gratification enables you to create a master plan to help you achieve your financial goals. You can define a purpose for saving and investing. Is it to buy a house or a car? A holiday? Retirement? Once the purpose is clear, you will then be able to set goals as you embark on your saving and investing journey.

The key is to get your head around the idea that discipline now leads to enjoyment later – and it will be much sweeter than the short-lived experience of instant gratification. A word of warning, though – make sure your goals are realistic, so you don’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged if long-term investments don’t deliver growth immediately. Investing is a marathon, not a sprint.

The joy of saving plans coming to fruition

There is no greater joy that watching a plan come to fruition due to goal-driven savings. It all boils down to discipline and changing your mindset about how you see and spend your money. Start by imaging the life you desire and assess how you are preparing for that life. Are you on the right track?


Stay invested for as long as possible, so that your money earns compound interest


If you are a young person, do you want to keep renting accommodation for the rest of your life? Do you keep postponing opening a savings account to build up a healthy deposit for a house or apartment? If you are already in your 30s, do you want to reach your senior years without a comfortable retirement?

These questions may be uncomfortable for most people, but they need to be asked. Putting things off is a natural human habit – we all do it. But it’s time you broke that cycle and adopted a culture of saving. The joy of being able to afford what you need because you planned and achieved your financial goals, will be worth the wait.

Start saving today

If you follow the principle of delayed gratification, you are more likely to save and invest enough to cover your goals. Nedbank has a range of savings and investment products that can help you on your journey, whether you’re saving for the short, medium or long term. Speak to a Nedbank adviser to choose the right products for your needs.

When it comes to saving and investing, every little bit you put away helps. The secret is to stay invested for as long as possible, so that your money earns compound interest. Save and invest wisely, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour in due time.