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Don't Let The Mall Get You

As Personal Finance gurus say, being able to balance one's cash flow is a matter of making sure that one's income is bigger than what one can spend. Ramit Sethi advises to just increase one's income instead of worrying about what comes out of the budget. On the other hand, one cannot deny that it is also very sane to mind how you spend your money.

One major waterloo of the working woman is the mall. The mall is often where the harassed and harried corporate gal goes to, to recharge after work. The harassed and harried corporate gal then makes a major dent in her budget as she starts buying stuff, or starts gorging on food, to help heal her weary heart.

If you're at the point where you're screaming at yourself, "Enough is enough!" and you're ready to turn a new leaf in your spending habits, we're here to help. 

As they say, "knowing is half the battle." Thus, in order to beat the bad habit of going overboard at the mall, you have to understand first the dynamics of how you let the Mall suck up your hard-earned cash.

  1. Do you notice an emotional pattern of why you self-soothe by going to the mall? Was it a conflict with your boss? A bad moment with a coworker? Are you going through tough times in your family or personal life?
  2. When you go to the mall, do you have a particular item, a particular food that you splurge on when you feel bad?
  3. Do you have other ways to soothe yourself that does not include buying anything?

Asking these three questions will already help you formulate your plan on how to not let the Mall be your (very expensive) counselor.

  1. When you note that you're feeling down, substitute going to the mall with something else that will calm you and will not involve exposing you to consumer temptations. How about taking a trip to watch the sun set on Roxas Boulevard or any other water front? How about making yourself instant coffee with ice and sipping it while strolling through UP Diliman, Parks and Wildlife (near Trinoma/Philippine Science High School), or through the manicured lawns of The Fort?
  2. Avoid window shopping when you're not scheduled to buy anything, and especially when you're feeling down.
  3. Look for other ways to enjoy life that doesn't entail blowing money on anything. If you could walk to somewhere you could enjoy the sun set, watch trees sway in the wind, or just let the grass cool your feet, do so. Nature has a way of healing the heart that no gadget could.

You don't need to be the prisoner of the Mall. Remember that it exists to make the consumer buy. Your job is to resist it. As we said, look for better, non-shopping ways to heal your heart, and you'll notice that you'll feel better, because there's no credit card guilt afterwards.

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