I’m not sure why, but when things go bad, buying something new seems like an easy way to pick ourselves up, but in reality, it often leads to spending woes that cause even more grief in the long run. The next time you decide to indulge in retail therapy, stick to these tips and you’ll spend better and end up happier.
- Spend Time on Yourself, not money. You’re more likely to find happiness in taking the time to relax and reset than if you purchase a new item. Consider reading a good book, watching a good movie, or simply taking a quiet walk.
- Spend on experiences, not things. Research from San Francisco State University found that money spent on experiences rather than material things is more likely to make you feel happy.
- Spend on things you need anyway. A trip to the store to buy essentials can be just as gratifying as a shopping spree. And since you would have needed to buy this stuff anyway, you won’t do any damage to your checking account.
- Spend on things that can save you money. If you just have to get yourself something new, consider getting a frugal item that can save you money, like a Crock-Pot, programmable thermostat, or Bonus Checking Account.
- Spend on someone else rather than yourself. The best way to buy happiness is to buy something for someone else. This is particularly true of charitable giving.
- Buy now, open later. By delaying gratification, you build anticipation, which is a driver of happiness.
By Adam Lucas Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including Yahoo, AARP.org, and GoBankingRates.com.
Monday on the Money is a weekly commentary from Bank of the Ozarks providing financial advice and solutions important to you and your family.