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Monday, February 23, 2015

Shopping Is NOT a Hobby

Got a bad grade on an assignment? buy a CD to feel better.  Get a good grade on a lab report? treat yourself to a new sweater.  Having a bad day? a designer coffee will fix everything. 
Is that how you behave? No wonder your finances deserve a D.  Shopping is NOT a hobby, nor is it ‘therapy’ (the myth of ‘retail therapy’ is just that, a myth).  Shopping, when you live on a tight budget, should be only done when items are needed (and the fewer the trips, the more you will save on time; the fewer the trips, the fewer the number of temptations for buying things outside your budget).
If you feel good, find a fun and cheap way to celebrate.  For one thing, you already feel good, so you don’t need anything else to make you feel good.  So enjoy a good book and a break from studying.
If you feel bad, let’s look at the cause and, independently, how to feel better.  I’m not talking about curing clinical depression – that needs much more than a good coffee, or a pep talk.  Depression is a disease, NOT a state of mind that people need to snap out of.  However, if you feel blue, a bit melancholic, it isn’t spending that will make you feel better.  There are several studies that have shown that activities that make us feel valuable are one of the most effective ways to feel good and happy.  I remember, as a grad student, feeling lonely when my boyfriend had to work for weeks at a time at a project out of town, including weekends.  So I found some volunteer work to do, and at the end of my shift, I felt I had made a (small) difference in the world and I went home happy. 
Find your happiness outside the mall.

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