Handling Emotions and Money
Note: I'm writing this short post to solicit advice from fellow bloggers and readers, rather than to offer much fruitful advice. That, and I want to eliminate proof of the Econ Test From Hell that Will so helpfully posted, so the more posts we get up, the better. Thanks, Will. Really.
Like many people out there, I'm a moody spender. I use emotional up-and-downs to justify on-a-whim purchases and lousy tracking of finances. It's dumb, I know. It's extremely immature. I think I get this from my paternal grandfather, because it runs in some other family members as well, and certainly isn't a learnt behavior. My parents set a great example, yet I haven't followed it — I'm just going to hope it's an overcome-able genetic flaw.
Another unfortunate trait (possibly learned) is a problem with anger management and holding grudges. I'm TERRIBLE at forgiving people for small slights, and even worse about forgiving and forgetting when someone does something really obnoxious. I can be counted on to fire off a nasty e-mail to some flaky Craigslist schmuck who backs out of a sale after stringing me along for a week. I CANNOT be trusted to take a deep breath or count to 10. And then I'll go get myself something nice to placate my feelings.
It's called retail therapy, and thousands of us are guilty of it. A study in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing discovered that 62% of shoppers buy something to cheer themselves up. While it's not necessarily always bad (you're allowed to treat yourself now and again!), it can also easily spiral out of control. Much like indulging in fatty foods or alcohol, consolation shopping has to be done in moderation.
In my most recent incident, I managed NOT to go buy myself something nice (and there were some perfumes that were CALLING to me). But I still reacted emotionally to aforementioned Craigslist flake-head with a whiny e-mail about how unfair she was being. It's not important that this person clearly had issues and made weird accusations, what's important is that I couldn't take the high road and just let it go. So she's an idiot — why do I have to point this out?
How do you all cope with letting things go? Do you turn to retail therapy to cheer yourself up? Can you just go for a walk and do a little meditation?
It's one of my New Year's resolutions (and it relates to all the others — money management, general laziness) to be more forgiving and less easily angered. I'm looking for some tips, mantras, and/or thoughts on the issue. If you have some good ideas, I'd love to hear them! Right now, I'm going to start with a 20 minute walk while listening to Andrea's Most Embarrassing Playlist Ever, which includes (I kid you not) a single by the one-hit-wonder Hanson.
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