Tuesday, July 26, 2016
YOUR MOODS MAY BE BLOWING YOUR BUDGET
(1) SADNESS It turns out, retail therapy is a real thing. We focus on what we can do right now to feel better when we are unhappy. You get this momentary pleasure when shopping that keeps the sadness at bay. Retail therapy rarely ends with one purchase because the distraction is typically short-lived. Despite our budget, we often keep spending to keep feeling good. Sadness not only wants us to shop, it also makes us restless spendthrifts. A study of participants watching sad movies or wrote sad essays found that they felt a need to acquire material things immediately. Rather than ordering a better deal online that requires a week long wait, feeling antsy might subconsciously influence you to buy a laptop right then. Your subconscious might make you feel that by taking the laptop home immediately, you may start to feel better. Even though your choice costs more, your mood doesn't care about the consequences. TO GET BACK ON TRACK Ask yourself why you are making this purchase. Be honest with yourself. Ask the question without judgement. If you believe it is because of sadness, try walking around before heading to the cash register. The extra time and fresh air might put things into perspective. Set a limit, may be $10 or up to $25, for those blue moods. You can still get a boost when feeling down without wrecking your budget. (2) HAPPINESS It's natural to feel overly confident that you can afford a big purchase when you are in a good mood, even if that is not the case. The Journal of Consumer Research published a study finding that nostalgic people were willing to spend more on items like a bottle of soda or a television, than people who thought about future experiences. The here and now doesn't have to trigger those feel-good emotions. Just flipping through your kid's baby books or looking at an old friend's Facebook photos, can unconsciously make people more generous. Relationships and interactions that are satisfying can make us crave social connection more and desire money less. Another study published showed that participants donated more to a fictitious charity when feeling nostalgic than those who were feeling neutral at the time. TO GET BACK ON TRACK When we are feeling nervous or anxious, we tend to get a second opinion more than when we feel joy. Before making any big financial decisions, check with someone you trust. Do this especially in a elated mood. A study published by the Association for Psychological Science found that shifting your mood into one of gratitude makes us less impulsive with our money. For example, reflect for a moment on how other people have supported you. (3) ANGER Financial decisions get you into more trouble when you are angry, It's harder to talk ourselves out of big financial risks because when we are angry that's all we really can pay attention to. In this mood, you tend to take big financial risk instead of taking care of yourself in the process. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found in a study that angry participants favor bigger risks-even life-threatening ones- than participants whose moods are more neutral. According to a study in Cognition and Emotion, anger makes us more stubborn about our decisions including terrible ones. We tend to seek out people who will confirm, rather than challenge our choices. TO GET BACK ON TRACK A must is a 24 hour cooling period. Since anger needs action, blow off some steam by doing something physical. For example, taking a walk. Before following through on any big financial decisions, make yourself talk it over with a couple of people that are not financially invested in the decision. You want anger to defuse enough to feel rational. Once you gather you information, you will have stopped seething. This gives you the power back. By not ignoring your emotions, you can use them to make the smartest choices. Write down the mood you are in when making a purchase by carrying a small notebook. Tracking your emotions at that time only takes a few seconds, whereas, it is hard to remember back on your bank statement at the end of the month.