Holidays are often celebrated and marked by giving gifts. While giving can be more rewarding than receiving, to paraphrase the famous saying, finding that perfect something for everyone on your list can be more than a little stressful.
When we went searching for answers to share with you, we found that the solution to stress-filled giving could lie in the psychology behind financial choices.
Have you ever felt guilty buying something?
Everybody does in certain situations. In psychology, that guilt or any negative emotion that you feel when buying something is called a moral tax or the pain of payment.
- We feel bad because we are naturally averse to loss – the loss of money in this case. Losing money is even more powerful than making money of the same amount.
- Paying for something with cash is more painful than paying with a credit card, because you’re losing money on the spot instead of 30 days later.
- Recent research finds that paying with a mobile phone is even less painful than credit cards, because our phones are not (yet) associated with making payments. We use them primarily for other things.
According to the doctor who developed the concept of the pain of payment, there are six characteristics of a purchase that can decrease your pain or guilt:
- You consider the transaction to be fair
- You consider the purchase an investment instead of just for fun
- Your pay immediately for the purchase rather than over time
- Your purchase is for someone else
- You believe you’re in control of your choice
- You pay for the item before you consume it
It’s comforting to know that buying something on sale (number 1) for something one else (number 4) can relieve your stress during the holidays!
The best gifts are ones that you don’t have to pay for
While you can reduce your pain of payment this holiday season, you can also reduce your loved ones’ pain of payment as well. In fact, it’s the key to buying the perfect gifts! The best gifts for someone else are those things that have a high pain of payment if they were to buy the gift for themselves.
When trying to buy a gift for a spouse or close friend, think about items they would feel guilty or bad buying for themselves. It doesn’t have to be a high-priced item. It’s more about the emotions they would feel if they bought the item for themselves. It could be something they feel like they don’t deserve or can’t justify buying, when they could spend the money on something else, like for their child or family.
When you think of presents in those terms, you can narrow down the range of possible gifts and reduce your stress at the same time. It all comes down to the fact that the best gift to give someone are those things they really want, but deny themselves to avoid feeling guilty.
ABA therapy is the perfect gift for children with autism
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is the gold standard treatment for children with autism as young as two years old. It’s covered by most health insurance plans, so the pain of payment is greatly reduced, and you can be confident in your choice when you choose an ABA provider that’s been recognized as a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence®.
Contact the autism and ABA therapy experts at The Behavior Exchange today. We can reduce your holiday stress and help your child achieve their full potential through the gift of highly accredited, caring, and fun ABA therapy!