Retail therapy is a real thing as proven by science. In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan it was found that shopping is more than brief escapism. It does genuinely make you a happier person. They write in their findings, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, “Our experiments provided support for the notion that making shopping choices helps to restore a sense of personal control over one’s environment, and thus helps to alleviate sadness.”
I used to be the type that would spend big bucks on a new clothes and gadgets whenever I got bad news, or felt a little bit off on a certain day. However, after depleting the little money I had, I knew I would need to change my impulsive, frivolous lifestyle. The problem is, since I can’t afford real therapy, retail therapy is the only form of therapy I have. So instead of ditching it entirely, I decided to keep up with my frivolous lifestyle, but on a smaller scale. Instead of buying a new dress for $60, I now go to my local CVS and buy the most expensive dish soap in stock. Catch my drift? Not yet? Well how about I provide you with more excellent examples of ways you can be the fanciest cheapskate in town.
Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
It’s a universal necessity, is it not? Most of us are probably used to buying the most popular form of lip balm, which is called ChapStick. If you’re like me, you also just found out that ChapStick is a brand name and not just what you call all hydration sticks for your lips. The lip balm game is out of control these days, thanks to the rise of stores like Sephora and companies like Burt’s Bees who want to add things like acaii and cocoa butter to your lip balm for things like “extra protection” and “essential nutrients”. Whether these hoity-toity lip rejuvenators are actually better I have no idea, but sometimes when you’re feeling like a worthless idiot you might want to splurge on one for the hell of it. Say no to new shoes, and go for Burt’s Bees anything. The classic ChapStick runs at around $2.00 while Burt’s Bees “basic” lip balm goes for around $3.30. However, what I get is the “Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm with Kokum Butter”. This bad boy runs for $4.00 and has kokum butter! What’s a kokum? Who cares, just buy it.
It’s the water of all waters. Why? Because it’s French. I knew Evian was top quality when someone told me Julia Roberts bathes in it. Whether this is true or not I have no idea, but I’m going to say that it is. Anyways, because Evian water is the only water that can touch a famous woman’s body, that must mean it is also expensive. As far as water goes it is. Most water is free, and sometimes when it’s bottled it’ll cost you anything from $1 to $1.50. When I’m in need of some serious emotional healing, I’ll grab me a 20 ounce bottle of Evian for around $2.50 and only drink half of it. What do I do with the other half? I pull a Julia Roberts and wash my face with it. If there’s still some left over I pour it down the sink and dedicate doing so to my homies. You too can do this, and will feel like the Wolf of Wall Street himself but for less than $3.
Buying stuff isn’t the only thing tied to achieving a quick pick-me-up. There’s also the very well known and extremely popular (at least for me) act of emotional eating. My go-to is pizza if I’m hankering for savory, and chocolate if I need me something sweet. If you’re a plain Joe or Jane you can grab any old chocolate off the shelves in any old check-out line. Hershey’s, Milky Way, Snickers, etc. However, if you’re having a particularly bad day, a day you’re feeling “extra” blue then I recommend going all out on some Ghirardelli milk chocolate. One bar runs for approximately $4. Now, this chocolate is one of the few higher-priced items I can actually vouch for as truly being the best of the best. I am confident that this stuff could turn any chocolate-hater into a chocolate-lover and any person who is lactose intolerant to…well no they’ll probably stay lactose intolerant.
Fergie’s “Center Stage” Make Up
So, if you’re a broke-ass woman like myself you are very familiar with the make up company that is Wet n’ Wild. I swear by their lipstick and their nail polish, which run at prices from $1-$3. However, now the company has teamed up with singing sensation Fergie–of that very talented and beloved group the Black Eyed Peas–and released Fergie brand make up called the Center Stage Collection. Of course, this stuff is more expensive than the normal Wet n’ Wild stuff because duh a celebrity’s name is on it. However, being Wet n’ Wild, it’s still cheap as f*ck. That’s what’s great about it. A celebrity-endorsed beauty product from say Sephora will run you in the double digits, but Fergie’s lipstick costs $3.49. It’s the best of both worlds.
These are just a few examples, and there are plenty more products out there that are the top dog in their category, yet won’t hurt your wallet. As it turns out, the real secret to happiness is to play mind-games with your own mind.
Alison Stevenson is a comedian and writer. She frequently contributes to VICE, and Filmdrunk as well as perform stand up comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @JustAboutGlad