This winter, you might want to save your holiday shopping for after finals period. Researchers from Harvard and other universities have found that sadness (a common condition among students trying to finish papers and projects at the end of the semester) not only leads to increased spending, it also impacts the quality of our financial decisions.
Jennifer Lerner, of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and her colleagues have identified a condition called "myopic misery," in which the sad participants of a study stated that they would rather receive up to 34 percent less money now than a larger amount later. You don't need to be in Math 55a to know that's terrible financing.
December is a trying time: we have to shrug off Thanksgiving sluggishness, confront the cold, deal with finals, and, perhaps worst of all, find perfect, thoughtful presents for all those friends and family members back home. Lerner's study doesn't provide any solutions to myopic misery, so Flyby has stepped up to the plate to ensure that our precious cash doesn’t suddenly transform into empty Insomnia Cookie wrappers. Here are some ways to keep your spirits up before hitting the Square for holiday shopping.
One Direction, T-Swift, and PSY are your best buds. Admit it. Your iTunes library may be filled with some truly great music, but at the end of the day, nothing makes you happier than watching Gangnam Style (or better yet, the US Navy's version). Before you embark on your shopping excursion, listen to some 1D, laugh at their tracks, and get in a lighter mood.
Revel in free TV. First Harvard grants us Tivli, but now we have free HBO GO? We all need to take a moment and pat ourselves on the back—not only have we tricked Dean Fitzsimmons into letting us go here, we've somehow also finagled free HBO. That's a job well done. Take in some "Sex and the City" or an episode of "The Sopranos" and set off—when you don't have to pay for procrastination, you are unstoppable.
Divided We Fall. You've been saying since the beginning of freshman year that you'd like to "explore Boston." Well, get your act together—try kidnapping your blockmates and ride the T into the great unknown. Holiday shopping doesn't have to be such an ordeal if you and your friends are out and about in Boston together.
And voila! Now we will never fall ill to myopic misery, and only make the best financial decisions—it's a Christmas miracle.