The Psychology of a Mini-Muffin
I generally consider myself a pretty health-conscious eater. I mean, don’t count calories or anything, but I try to eat lots of fruits and veggies and stay away from unnecessary fats and sugars.
So for me, when I came down stairs today and saw a box of enormous muffins on the counter, it was no problem at all to turn the other way - that’s a lot of saturated fat and calories! So off to my typical yogurt and fruit breakfast. How different would that situation be, however, if that box of chocolate chip muffins was shrunk down into a bag of cute little bite-sized mini-muffins. These little temptations are indeed much more difficult to resist!
A regular muffin looks so big, it would be irresponsible to eat that. But a mini-muffin is so innocent, it’s so much easier to grab a couple. Deep down I know that eating 4 or 5 mini-muffins would be the same thing as eating one regular-sized muffin - or even more! So why is it so easy to say yes to so many little things, when it is so easy to say no to just one big thing?
Economics For Recent College Grads
As a recent college grad, and soon-to-be graduate student, the issue of money seems to be the fat and sugar-loaded muffin in my life. It’s something that is way too big to even start to think about as a whole; it’s downright depressing to comprehend how far I need to stretch every dollar.
College students in debt everywhere know what I’m talking about. For many of us, this is the first time in our lives we will be cut off completely from our parents and have to start from scratch looking for a place to live, a job, a mode of transportation, and other details yet to be discovered.
For those of us that are boomeranging-it back to the safety of home until we can afford a place of our own, there are still many financial decisions to be made. From the little things, like determining the steps for budgeting, to bigger financial goals like building an emergency fund, it starts to feel very overwhelming.
The Pros of Using a Mini-Muffin Perspective
That’s where the mini-muffin goes from sneaky diet disturbance to your financial friend indeed. Looking at all the bills I need to pay with my small paycheck is like trying to conquer Everest - and forget about setting long-term goals or making a big purchase! That muffin is just too huge and I would rather stay away.
And yet, in the last few months I have managed to save up $1000 towards my student loans (before the grace period is even up, by the way), spend $650 on a new computer, and still put away money for grad school.
How was I able to eat these enormous muffins without feeling totally overwhelmed? By setting smaller goals and saving along the way.
Take my student loans, for example. Instead of considering the whole sum at once, I am breaking it up into mini-muffin portions: I owe over $26,000, but by setting up an ImpulseSave account for a bite-sized $1,000 piece of the whole bill, I can celebrate the smaller steps I make towards the final end!
You can handle the big stuff - in smaller pieces
So all you graduates - yeah, YOU! - if you start to get exhausted by people saying things like “How are you going to pay off all those loans?” or “You’d better start saving an emergency fund!” of any of the other cliche questions or tips for recent college graduates, just remember the mini-muffins.
You don’t have to eat the whole muffin in one bite. You’ll get there soon enough, just bite it off into little chunks and celebrate the small victories along the way!