Monday, December 5, 2011

What does it mean to defer consumption and why are we doing this?

Instead of posting an efficiency tip this Monday morning, I’d like to elucidate this blog's life philosophy a little bit. People often ask the meaning behind the blog’s name and how it relates to the topics I post about, so I thought it might be worthwhile to tie everything together.

From time to time I’ll read parts of The Richest Man in Babylon. The book was published in 1926 but is composed of ancient-sounding parables about handling money. While I could use various texts to describe the principles behind this blog, of course, this one in particular has been on my mind lately. One of the most striking passages of the book is this: “The purpose of a budget is to help thy purse to fatten. It is to assist thee to have thy necessities, and, in do far as attainable, thy other desires. It is to enable thee to realize thy most cherished desires by defending them from thy casual wishes.”

It’s basic, but when one is able to defer consumption and lay money at interest, you’re ensuring yourself a more prosperous future. When one forgoes the distractions of the day to pursue their education or when one exercises or eats right, they’re doing the same thing. In this blog's first post, I wrote about the many benefits that accrue to those who are simply able to delay gratification. Look at everything you did today. How much of it consisted of making yourself temporarily happy now, rather than contributing to a foundation for lasting happiness in the future? I like this because it's simple and applies to so many aspects of life: Defend thy most cherished desires from thy casual wishes.

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