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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Using money as a reward

Money is what makes the world go around, it helps to support businesses, communities, and is essentially the foundation of all things we as humans need to survive. So why should it not be used simply for pleasure and rewards? After a long day of working hard to meet deadlines, staring blankly at your computer, or maybe you have accomplished a new skill or hit a new personal best at the gym, you are entitled to give yourself something that rewards your achievements no matter how big or small. Although we are living through a cost of living crisis, sometimes it is essential to allow yourself to spend your money on a want rather than a need simply for some peace of mind. Now, I don't mean go and buy yourself a designer coat rather than paying your electricity bill, that would be mad! I am simply suggesting allowing yourself to go and buy that top you have been walking past in the shop window for weeks after getting some positive feedback on your most recent deadline, or merely treating yourself to that meal deal after completing a stressful task that has been hanging over you for weeks, rather than walking past it to buy yourself the ingredients to make a half decent sandwich at home. Allowing yourself to purchase items in a responsible way as a form of celebrating your hard work should be something we all partake in, it can let you acknowledge how much time you have spent pushing yourself whether that's physically, mentally or academically. Rewarding yourself with a materialistic item can be the reminder that you have worked hard and you deserve to therefore treat yourself!

The power of retail therapy

Is shopping and spending money on things to make you happy so terrible? If done so in moderation and in a way that isn't causing you to not be able to afford necessities, surely it can't be causing too much harm? Shopping can be a great way to not just reward ourselves, but to help build better versions of ourselves. Whether you choose to shop on your own, with your friends or family, or even online, even just allowing yourself to simply browse can be just as therapeutic as going on a walk and observing your surroundings. Shopping can help ease your mind if you have had a long day, it can even help you if you are transitioning into a new career and you want to envision yourself in your new lifestyle. However, It is important to understand your spending and ensure you are not spiralling down a path of emotional spending, that is harming not just your bank account but you mental health. For some, retail therapy may not be the answer! As mentioned earlier, it is best to allow yourself the occasional reward, if you feel yourself starting to spend irrationally and more often then you may want to take a step back and think about how you can tackle this bad habit. The best thing is to ensure you have a budget that you can afford to spend a week or a month and reminding yourself it's ok to also just window shop! Retail therapy can be both good and bad as long as you are aware of your mental and financial limits, surrounding yourself with people who can help you out if you do find yourself spiralling is important.

Does the way we have grown up with money shape how we spend it?

Money is without a doubt seen differently by all social classes. For some money isn't given a second thought and is spent on anything and everything, for others money is the thing that can barely keep them afloat. For me, I believe the way I spend my money definitely correlates with how I grew up in a middle class family. I make smart decisions and save as much as possible and try to limit my spending to the essentials like food and rent, but when I hit a deadline and have been living in the library for a week, I think it's best to treat myself with a wonder around the shops and buying something I have wanted for some time. Many people who grew up in families with minimal income have different views on money, it can be seen as more of an unpredictable thing and therefore results in people being more careful with how they spend as they may not know when the next paycheck will be coming in. Those from a wealthier background may view money as something that doesn't even raise an issue and therefore may spend more recklessly and don't tend to think about the consequences of spending that £20 on some makeup rather than a weekly food shop. It's important you are aware of your financial situation so you know how much excess income you have to spend on non-essentials, It's also ok to not spend and save for future endeavours, money doesn't have to be something that is spent as soon as it is gained. Money awareness is a key skill to have, investing into a savings account can always be something to think about if you worry about your spending. You have the power to choose how you spend and when you spend!

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