Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad
Today I read an eye opening article about the effect known as "misery is not miserly". Basically, a study was conducted on two groups of people. One group was shown a sad video about the death of a boy's mentor while the other was shown a random and emotionally neutral video about the Great Barrier Reef. Then each person was given $10 and asked to put an offer on a bottle of water. The group that was shown the sad video offered $2.11 on average, while the other group offered only $0.56 on average. Even though the first group offered nearly four times than that of the second group, they say that the video had no bearings on their decision. Thus the researchers say it is a phenomenon that happens without awareness, and that is frightening.
I can see how this effect can trap people into a vicious cycle of spending. When people are in debt they can be dragged down emotionally by all the bills they have to pay, and if they spend more to compensate for their emotions then they will pile on more debt. More debt means more frustration and sadness, and the expensive toys get charged once again. For these people, they really need to get rid of their emotions and focus on reducing their debt. Once they eliminate the root of their depression, they may naturally stop their overspending.
Personally, when I am sad I tend to spend more on food, and eat a lot more than I should. I also know a friend who would buy clothes that's much more expensive than what she usually wears when she is feeling down. After these frivolous purchases there is always a bit of pleasure, and then guilt soon follows. Now that I am aware that sadness induces extravagance, I can only hope that I will stop myself from spending money when I need a little pick me up. If I absolutely need to spend money I may need to let someone else buy the item for me.
This brings up another random thought, are funeral homes aware of this effect and do they take advantage of it?
How about you? Do you tend to spend more when you are sad and are you aware of it?