Entrepreneur and author Joel Salatin once said that, “If you ever need a vacation from work, you better not come back.”
I get what he’s saying. He means that if work ever becomes something that you want to escape, you’re in the wrong profession. Vacationing is probably the most popular way for people to relieve stress.
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And what if you love your job, but sometimes it all gets to be too much? What then?
Furthermore, there are many people who vow to never spend money on things like morning coffee, weekly pedicures, or quartz countertops. What I’ve noticed is that often, these are the people who will not give up vacations under any circumstance. They save $2,000 a year by walking past Starbucks, but end up plowing that money into an expensive vacation package. Often their vacations turn out to be a far more expensive way to cope with stress than the daily stress relievers that some of us enjoy in small doses.
There's more than one way to de-stress.
The Starbucks deniers, besides booking an all-savings-in vacation, also indulge in big budget stress-busters like a luxury SUV because, “I deserve it.” You may deserve the Land Rover Sport with its real wood dash trim and its 14-way power front seats. But I think we’re now stepping into the dangerous “penny wise, pound foolish” territory.
To be “penny wise and pound foolish” means what it sounds like it means. Someone who fits this description avoids spending money on small expenses. But then, almost as if out of nowhere, they buy something that’s very expensive.
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I find myself falling into the false frugality trap myself. I can easily say no to things like daily coffee and fast food: I dislike coffee, and I hate fast food (I’m weird). But I work hard to be penny-wise on things like groceries and electronics.
For myself and others, I've noticed pressure can build up to the point that we get pound foolish.
I recently considered buying a new sports car. Then I came back to my senses. It’d be crazy to buy a new, faster sports car when I don’t even drive my current car too fast so that I can save fuel.
So what is a person to do?
There are many low-cost ways to relieve the pressure.
Instead of letting the pressure build, relieve stress on a frequent basis.
Here’s a massive list of ways to relieve stress. If you feel stressed to the point you want to buy something large and ridiculous, pull an idea or two from this list:
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- A daily coffee or tea.
- A regular massage appointment.
- A regular manicure and/or pedicure (I’ve actually had a few pedicures in my day – they are ridiculously enjoyable).
- Upgrade things in your life that are causing you stress: get a new cell phone, new laptop, new bicycle, new gardening shears, new water bottle, new pair of glasses, new shoes, new face wash – whatever has an impact on your daily quality of life (and isn’t too expensive).
- Take something off your plate: hire a cleaning person for your apartment. Have your car professionally detailed. Buy some quality accounting software for your side hustle. Whatever small improvement you can do to relieve the pressure.
- Use a delivery or subscription service like Birchbox, or have your groceries delivered.
- Sign up for a fitness class – maybe a yoga or Spin class.
- Upgrade something in your home: a rainfall shower head, keyless entry (so you don’t have to fumble with keys), high-quality dishware and cutlery, new towels – whatever tickles your fancy.
- Host parties.
- Have a movie night.
These are all low-cost ways to relieve stress. By embracing small purchases, you’ll be less likely to crack under the pressure and buy something large and irrational. Enjoy the knowledge that your upgraded standard of living is actually saving you money.