These days, many people are depressed, feeling anxious, and fearful for something that just a short time ago seemed stable and understandable. Most feel the need to save money: some to accumulate a safety cushion, and others because of decreased income.
It’s known that because of the mechanism of hedonic adaptation, it’s hard for us to lose the usual standard of living. Psychologically, it’s read as a threat to well-being, even if it was rather doubtful before. People dislike to put up with the idea that yesterday they could still buy, for example, a new down jacket for winter, and today this pleasure has become unavailable to them. Add the stress of uncertainty to this, and you get a gorgeous “cocktail” of negative emotions.
But there are ways to help yourself in such situations. Saving can be pleasant, useful, and even interesting. It all depends on perception. Here’s how to do this.
Take Care of Your Emotional State
Under stress, people tend to make stupid financial decisions. To protect yourself from the possibility of committing acts harmful to your wallet, you need to monitor your emotional state.
How to support yourself in a crisis?
- Take a walk daily.
- Take a weekend trip out of town.
- Spend time by the water.
- Get physical activity.
This reduces the concentration of cortisol in the body, which is responsible for stress. As for water, scientists have proven that its sounds and the way light reflects off its surface have a favorable and calming effect on the psyche.
Don’t take away the small pleasures. These include meetings with friends, hobbies, betting on your favorite sport at 20Bet, and going for a massage. Although these are small joys, they have a great impact on the psychological state. Plan them specifically and distribute them according to your schedule so that the amount of positive emotions in life remains at the same level.
Analyze Which Expenses Make You Happy and Which Create a Hole in Your Budget
Today, on the topic of financial literacy, you can often hear advice to give up coffee to go because most people drink it every day, and in terms of monthly expenses, it turns out to be quite a tidy sum of money. But those who give out such advice consider only the economic side of the issue and ignore the psychological side. For many people, takeout coffee is an important daily ritual that supports their emotional state and gives them a sense of stability, comfort, security, and peace.
In times of crisis, people often start to give up such things as subscriptions to their favorite services, gym memberships, trips to the beauty salon, cinema, theater, museum, favorite cafe, ordering food at home, and so on. But are these expenses so unnecessary? By giving them up, do you lose more or save more? Think about it and decide what you can cut out and what you need to keep so that you don’t deprive yourself of sources of joy.
Recalibrate Your Brain to Take Pleasure in Saving Money
Our brain has two amazing characteristics, among others:
- It doesn’t like to say goodbye to money to the point where it releases the same substances as physical pain.
- It likes pleasurable purchases, i.e. when a person buys a nice thing and feels satisfaction, there is a release of dopamine in the brain. Because of this characteristic, it can be hard to give up impulsive purchases.
But there are clever ways to trick the brain a bit and allow it to experience joy while saving money. How much can you spend on a daily basis? Let’s say $100. Try spending a little less than that amount each day. Let it be $95 today, $93 tomorrow, and $85 the day after that. The savings may not be significant, but it doesn’t matter. The main thing is to let your brain know that it’s possible in principle and doesn’t threaten your well-being or status in any way. This method helps change the perception from “I’m limiting myself” to “I’m good at saving money.”
Put the money you save into a separate account and track your progress. To convince your brain that a new habit is useful, give it visual evidence. Then it will believe you’re moving in the right direction and start producing pleasure hormones.
If you feel like buying something unnecessary, do as they advise when losing weight: you can eat those burgers and fries, but it will cost you an hour and a half of running on the treadmill. Calculate how much an hour of your time is worth, and see how many hours you’d have to work to justify the purchase.
Replace shopping with another activity that brings positive emotions. Have you ever noticed that the joy of shopping can be great but short-lived? If we are talking about buying an expensive car, which a person has dreamed of for 10 years, their emotions won’t last forever. But what an item of expenditure it is! If you are sad, lonely, and dreary and want to somehow lift your mood, then don’t go to the mall or your favorite marketplace, but think: What else brings you joy? The list may include dinner with your family, breakfast in your favorite cafe, a walk along the central streets of the city, an evening in the company of a book and hot aromatic tea, a meeting with friends, a walk with your dog, training, learning a new skill, etc. There can be a lot of options! The most important thing is to find yours. Learn to get joy from simple things.
Set Yourself a Challenge
Even though we are adults, there’s a child inside us who loves to play and organize quests with subsequent prizes. Bet with a friend or with subscribers on social networks and come up with a gift for passing the challenge. The essence of the challenge itself can be as follows:
- Live for a week for $100.
- Spend nothing all day.
- Refuse to spend anything for a week, for example, meals in cafes and home delivery.
The Challenge will discipline you, keep you on track, and teach you how to think intelligently about spending in a relaxed and fun format.