Practicing delayed gratification is said to be something successful people do but when you’re not yet successful it can just feel like an endless cycle of telling yourself “No, not yet.” “No Wait.” “Don’t spend that you may need it.” or “Don’t go there you can’t afford it.”

Destination Gratification: Flight 2018 Delayed

I love going into the mall to gaze longingly at all the s—- I can not afford. I am the queen of delayed gratification but the truth is, it only works because I “gratify” myself in some way. If you’re trying to save money or spend less, it’s often believed that you must cut out activities that encourage consumerism. I, in fact, think that the best advice is to conquer those places, because let’s face it, my favorite coffee shop is a place I go to clear my head or bury it deep into a book.

The $5 iced mocha with cinnamon and whipped cream is a knee-jerk reaction to feeling like I’m expected to buy something because I’m benefiting from the calm, creative environment. NOBODY said I had to buy a $5 coffee though; I could buy the orange juice for $1.50 and enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted reading/writing just as much. Sometimes delayed gratification doesn’t mean skipping gratification altogether, it can also mean just downgrading it.

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Treat each personal expedition like a trip into the super market because no one likes to be caught in the grocery store starving, with no list.

 

Modify to Moderation

How often you do something effects aspects like enjoyment and expenses. If you’re at Starbucks every day then not only will it get pricey but that caramel macchiato may not taste as great because of over saturation (OKAY it definitely will) but the idea is to place yourself on a consumer diet. You can cut back on your weekly/monthly/yearly intake of shopping/eating out/pampering without completely stopping the things you enjoy like going to the mall or that cute, pricey restaurant downtown. Spread out how often you visit places that encourage you to buy, buy, BUY!

Any healthy, effective diet allows you to indulge a little to keep you from falling off the wagon. I try to give myself a small break of dinner and a movie once a month like discussed in Fajitas and Feeling Myself because no one wants to be all work (or delayed gratification) and no play. It’s important for your mental health to do the things you enjoy but it’s equally important to your wallet to do so in moderation.

 

Budget to Your Benefit

Whenever I go to the mall, Barnes & Nobles, or my favorite coffee place, I go in with a set amount that I’ve saved up just for the occasion. I usually go to my coffee shop 1 to 2 times every two weeks and the mall every couple of months (because I can honestly find whatever I need cheaper somewhere else, so I go solely for the atmosphere). Whether I place my money cap at $5 up to $25; I know that I have a set amount I’m not going above. I treat my personal enjoyment outings like a trip to the grocery store with a mental list of what I want out of my experience.  If my goal is to enjoy the company of 10 strangers while reading Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou then I really have no desire to spend on others things like the huge brownie staring at me from the barista’s counter. Which brings me to the next point…

 

Game Plan

Treat each personal expedition like a trip into the super market because no one likes to be caught in the grocery store starving, with no list. Going with a specific purpose works wonders. When you have no idea what you want out of your experience you could end up overspending.

Going to Soule Cafe usually means I want to get some blogging or reading done so picking water over a huge mug of delicious coffee only slightly hurts. And for the ones that are saying, “Why not just stay home?” the answer to that lies within the fact that many creative types have a certain place or zone that stimulates their craft. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice that place unless you find it particularly difficult to stick to your original game plan. I personally still feel gratified having accomplished the task I set out to do in a soothing environment. When I go to the mall it’s because I want to be out and do something; If I walk away with one small Forever 21 bag with a $7 shirt in it, I still feel like…

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because I effectively scratched the itch to shop while staying within my $20 budget and still have enough for a trip to the food court (WINNING!)

Heading out on a Saturday afternoon with a game plan I’ve concocted throughout the week helps me stay true to my emotional/mental needs as well as my financial ones.

In the mall

First I make a strategic B line for the $10 sales rack at Aeropostale; head straight up the middle of the mall (Avoiding all eye contact with kiosks!), tackle the stacks of sales books at Barnes and Nobles then rush the end zone (parking lot) for the win! BOOO-YAAA.

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How do you conquer YOUR consumerism? Comment below and Let’s Talk. 

#Let’sBuild

My favorite part of when people come over is when they leave. (Ha) I’m only half serious.

There’s something soothing about having a place in this world where you can escape the questions, expectations, pleasantries and clothing (nudist apartment anyone?) But it took me a while to really understand the value of physical space for the welfare of my mental and emotional health.

Not every situation is the same; so I fully understand people who have pleasant experiences staying with parents to save for the future but let’s give a voice to another side to living with the folks to save a buck, shall we?

Here’s some advice about not taking advice.

Golden Shower Advice

The mounting financial hardships we young adults face today, due to choices stemming from financial background or plain ignorance comes with a host of advice that is showered upon us from all directions. While some of the advice is rooted in sincerity, sometimes it doesn’t quite fix the situation of the individual listening to it. Sometimes those golden showers of advice just stink up the place like, well…like a golden shower.

Is that asparagus I smell?

 

Why did the chicken cross the road

Moving back in with parents after getting slapped in the face by the financial world is one of the more popular pieces of advice.

This of course is the logical choice for those who have it. Moving in with parents can definitely help you save money and give you time to get on your feet when done correctly.

However; I find that the logical choice often negates the mental and emotional one. As a society we value logic over all other personality functions and this leaves out a big chuck of what an individual may actually need. Could it be that the answer to “Why did the chicken cross the road” isn’t as simple as “because it needed to move back in with it’s parents to save $$.”

Is it possible that moving into an environment that no longer stimulates you is more harmful than not?

 

Money is the least of your issues

I’ve stated before that my relationship with money is toxic in nature. It doesn’t want me the way I want it and yet I still dress up nice, put on perfume, and try to be obnoxiously nice in my pursuit of it.

Usually I just find myself outside the window looking in.

So when I got a little money I was afraid to spend virtually any of it outside of food and buying my car once I returned home. In my mind it was better to save money staying in my parents house than to dip into my beloved, scared savings. No matter how long my unemployment spell lasted.

It wouldn’t be that long of a wait anyway with a degree and being a Soldier recently back from deployment; there was a wonderful job waiting around the corner, ready to pay me the big bucks right…RIGHT?!

Wrong

I had made a logical choice knowing damn well I’m an emotional person. Living in a rent free household, waking up to Saturday breakfast and being around people who truly loved me was a blessing. Wasn’t?…Yes, it was.

Until it wasn’t. Or was but no longer felt like it.

Having to deal with my own complex emotions on top of those of family members; having to deal with my own financial anxiety and troubles along with the ones of those I loved.

Having no quiet environment I could escape to

(as an introvert, can you imagine)

no privacy

(Dad can you knock HELLOOO)

Being dubbed the babysitter and transportation provider only added to the stress level I had no idea how to handle. What is the price for a peace of mind and having your own space in a world that crowds your every thought with uncertainties.

What is the price of your own mental wellness and sanity?

Just something to think about.

 

This can’t be life

I started having fits of incredible insomnia.

I was going through a quarter-life crisis like mentioned in an earlier post The Ghost of Crisis Past but also dealing with issues, deaths, and arguments within my family. I had become known as the confidant, the protector, and escape hatch from years earlier to my family. But this was different.

Back at those points I had space, and distance that helped me replenish myself and then pour good things back into my family. This was not possible while living home so I became resentful and withdrawn. I thought, this couldn’t be life and it didn’t have to be…I had just convinced myself that the logical financial choice trumped my mental/emotional wellbeing.

 

Do the Insane to Stay Sane

Slowly, I started changing the way I saw my options. That maybe it wasn’t enough for me to make logical choices like most other people because my logical choice landed me in an environment that drained me.

It made more sense for me to take into account my personality instead of removing it from the equation. The truth is mental health and emotional stability are discarded as if they’re not important when older individuals call themselves giving advice to younger adults. Being convinced of this advice was like trying to squeeze my size 9 problem into a size 5.

 

My feet needed more room so I moved the f*** out. (I have big feet) No roommate to split the bill or anything. I finally had enough quiet to listen to my loud ass thoughts without having to listen to others. Selfish?…maybe. And maybe selfish works. Space and peace were worth the money in rent because it all allowed me to figure out the next steps in my life. Which in turn led to more money.

 

Giving yourself physical space can lead you to creative, mental and emotional milestones. Don’t be afraid to say “F*** that advice, imma do what’s best for me.” I said it before and I’ll mention it again; sometimes financial stability happens once you stabilize other areas of your life.

Whether it’s living with your parents, roommate or weird Craig’s list roomie; make sure the mental/emotional truths don’t counter the financial gain. The same is true for all other supposed advice millennials receive for our host of issues; take that shit with a grain of salt because ultimately, you know what works best for you.   

Now when I get unwarranted advice I just escape to my lair, kick off my pants seconds inside the door…

and pretend the outside world can’t come in unless it knocks (You will learn TODAY Dad!)

 

#LetsBuild