If you’re on a budget or saving up for a big expense, then during your premenstrual week you may want to ask a friend to hide your credit cards somewhere you’ll never ever see them (like the vegetable crisper) and leave the house with only the amount of money you need for essentials, like food, bus fare and wine.
That’s because research shows that during your premenstrual week you’re prone to splashing out more cash on indulgent purchases (such as gourmet food, clothing and gadgets) as plunging estrogen saps your willpower, making you more impulsive.
But, if you’re like me and you’ve memorized your credit card numbers (you know, in case of an emergency–not because I’ve done so much online shopping that the numbers are now embedded in my brain) or you’re tempted to shop with the money you brought to buy your lunch, then a 2014 study in the journal Psychological Science reveals an easy way to overcome your urge to spend and focus on saving instead: When you’re tempted to open your wallet for something unnecessary, spend a few minutes thinking of reasons to feel grateful, for instance, for the love of your family, your health, a great job or simply a beautiful day.
As the researchers explain, summoning feelings of gratitude by focusing on something to appreciate switches you from a gotta-have-it-now immediate rewards mindset to one where you value long-term goals, like fattening your piggybank, making it easier to put your money away and step away from the cash register. (You can read the full study here.)
[Photo: duncan c]