Immediate gratification is not a sin. Most people want it and it isn't just for kids. In their book "Boom: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer, the Baby-Boomer Woman", authors Mary Brown and Carol Orsborn describe the female baby boomer's need for immediate gratification. William D. Novelli, CEO of AARP calls it "speed of value". Don't let marketers steal your joy. You can save for the future and keep the economy afloat with your share of consumerism. Here's how:
Harness Happiness Brain Chemicals
The psychological theory of neuro-linguistic programming uses powerful brain prompts to control thinking. Basically, you can psych yourself into feeling happy. Basically, it's easier to think of new ways to change your situation if you don't waste your time focusing on bad stuff.
Take Charge Of Your Economics
Don't wait around for someone to tell you the economy is getting better in order to feel good about your finances. Regardless of what the economy is doing, you can change your own personal outlook on the situation. Assume things will eventually get better and start acting like it will. Think positive!
Keep looking for ways you can profit from an economic upturn and be ready to act on it. You don't have to feel guilty about it either. For example, trim that long list of stuff you want to buy but can't afford. Keep a top ten list and don't add a new item until you've taken one off the list. (Learn more in Gauging Major Turns With Psychology.)
Change Your Mindset
Understand that rich does not mean happy. Ever hear people who come from humble beginnings say they never knew they were poor? That's because they never felt "in need". Evaluate which things in life are truly necessary and which are just luxury. Practice appreciation; you will realize the wealth you have - no matter how much money is in your wallet.
The key to feeling satisfied right now is itemizing and prioritizing. Don't take the pennies for granted, but don't count them as if they are your only source of happiness. Don't focus on the numbers, but on how you feel. Make decisions regarding the most important things and celebrate every step you make towards them. Don't wait, do it now! (You might also want to read Consumer Confidence: A Killer Statistic.)