How Gratitude Can Help You Budget

Why Feeling Grateful Could Save You Money at the Checkout Counter

Impulse buying is a weakness we come by naturally. The human mind is predisposed to choose immediate reward over delayed gratification, and unfortunately, where money is concerned, that predisposition comes with a huge price tag. According to a recent study, the average person spends more than $100K on unplanned purchases in their lifetime.

Certain emotions can increase that propensity for spur-of-the-moment spending. For instance, shopping while feeling sad, even if that sadness has nothing to do with the purchase at hand, makes us more likely to pull out the wallet.

So, if feeling blue makes us indulge in retail therapy, does that mean we should suppress all emotion while shopping? Another recent study set out to answer that question and delivered surprising news: gratitude can help us make better financial choices.

In a collaborative effort between three U.S. universities, researchers found that the specific emotion of gratitude made participants choose patience over going after an instant financial reward. In the study, published in Psychological Science, participants were offered cash on the spot versus a larger amount in the future. Those who felt gratitude were more likely to wait for the bigger payoff — some were even willing to wait for an entire month.

According to these findings, neither neutral emotion nor happiness stimulated financial patience. Only gratitude reduced impatience and induced participants to suppress the immediate gratification impulse and make more prudent financial decisions.

Struggling to cut your spending? Check out this article from Money with a Purpose for 5 practical ways to save on your monthly budget.

The National Institutes of Health defines gratitude as the appreciation of what is meaningful to oneself, a general state of thankfulness and appreciation. Hundreds of studies have documented the benefits of gratitude, finding that it increases happiness, reduces anxiety, strengthens our relationships and makes us sleep better. But now, this recent study shows that gratitude might also save us money. How do we sign up?

Robert Emmons, a psychology professor and a leading scientific expert on gratitude, outlines 10 ways to become more grateful. These include reminding ourselves of things we are thankful for and overtly acting grateful, such as by smiling and making a point to say thank you. Such actions can trigger the actual emotion of gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal, as in the popular Facebook challenge, helps strengthen your gratitude muscle, providing a daily reminder of things, events and people that make you happy.

So, next time you're making that shopping list, along with eggs, Cheetos and extra-chunky peanut butter, flex your gratitude muscle by adding a few things to the list that make you feel thankful: the sunlight streaming in the kitchen window or the smell of coffee wafting from your cup. On your way out the door, hug someone you love, smile and say thank you. Your wallet will be grateful too.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

Read Next:

Leave a comment about How Gratitude Can Help You Budget?

Stay informed with free money-saving tips, deals, and reviews from CreditDonkey.

About CreditDonkey
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.

About Us | Reviews | Deals | Tips | Privacy | Do Not Sell My Info | Terms | Contact Us
(888) 483-4925 | 680 East Colorado Blvd, 2nd Floor | Pasadena, CA 91101
© 2024 CreditDonkey Inc. All Rights Reserved.