How The HALT Theory Can Rescue Your Savings Account

How The HALT Theory Can Rescue Your Savings Account

This simple acronym will help you avoid overspending money.

Saving money can be a daunting task, especially being constantly bombarded with sales and promos cluttering your email and Wal-Mart open 24/7, promising to satisfy your late-night ice cream craving.

As a busy, independent college student, I often find myself scouring the aisles of the grocery store after a tiring afternoon at work and walking out of the store with bags full of groceries that, at the moment, seemed like something I couldn’t live without. By the time I've hauled my loot into my dorm, however, I often realize the amount of money I just wasted only to satisfy my own momentary food cravings is enough to feed a family.

This same feeling of loss occurs when I visit the local clothing outlet with the intent of merely checking out the clearance rack, but I find myself swiping $50-plus out of my debit card account. Thinking back to the times, these have occurred, I find one common denominator: the HALT theory. The acronym HALT, commonly used by recovering addicts to avoid a relapse, stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. You don't need to be a shopaholic to make use of the HALT theory when it comes to saving money.

1. (H)ungry

You’ve most likely heard the advice to never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. It’s really a self-explanatory concept. If you’re hungry, you’ll want food. And your grumbly tummy will tell your brain that you need more food than you really do, thus leaving you with an unnecessarily high grocery bill and an array of foods that will likely go to waste when your grumbly tummy is satisfied after eating only a portion. In addition, hunger can cause overspending aside from groceries. Hunger, along with the other three emotions of HALT, is one of the mind-numbing emotions we experience. Hunger kicks self-control to the curb and lets gluttony take the shotgun seat.

The best advice concerning hungry shopping is "don’t." If you're contemplating a trip to the store when you know you’re hungry, find a quick snack that you already have on hand. If you can't avoid the store while you're hungry, be sure to have a specific shopping list made beforehand. This will keep you from spur of the moment buys that you'll likely regret once your hunger has been satisfied.

2. (A)ngry

It may just be me, but when I’m mad, I like to drive. There is my first mistake. Unless it’s a cruise down a secluded back road, angry driving can lead to quick road rage. I know what you’re thinking. "What does this have to do with spending money?" First, driving takes gas money. Second, once I’m out driving around, I tend to find the road doesn’t calm my mind so I resort to the next option: shopping. Angry shopping is shopping without self-control. Anger shortens your attention span and allows you to make rash decisions with a “don’t care” attitude. That item in your basket may cost more than you would usually pay for it, but on a bad day, who’s stopping you? To avoid angry spending, it's beneficial to invest in a calming hobby such as crafting, reading, adult coloring, etc. Make a top 20 calming songs list to play when you are having a rough day.

3. (L)onely

Loneliness is the most difficult of these four to subdue, in my opinion. Loneliness is not the same thing as being alone, but rather a part of not finding a sense of belonging in your environment. Loneliness spurs on boredom. Boredom sends a person’s mind wandering, and in the case of overspending, boredom can wreak havoc on a savings account. Some people may seek out belonging through a new wardrobe, new hair styles or buying everything bigger and better and best. The biggest problem is things won't take away the loneliness. If your friends base their loyalty to you on your monetary value, those friends won't stick around long when you’ve spent the savings. There's a difference between short-term and long-term feelings of loneliness. If you find yourself wanting to go out and spend money for boredom's sake, call up an old friend instead.

4. (T)ired

Tiredness may not seem like an emotion that would make a person stir-crazy and spend-happy, but it can cause a spending problem. Tiredness can impair one’s ability to think logically. It may cause someone to fail to see the best option when making a purchase. Being tired can cause a person to seek out a quick fix to regain energy, such as buying an energy drink or caffeinated beverage at the nearest gas station. Instant gratification does a number on the pocket book. There are much cheaper and healthier ways to relieve tiredness. Stocking up on fresh fruits can save you money compared to that venti soy latte with an extra shot of espresso, and they provide just as much of an energy boost, minus the crash after several hours. Drinking plenty of water can also give a person more energy to get through the day.

Recognizing the warning signs is the first step in preventing unnecessary spending habits. Keep HALT in mind the next time you find yourself satisfying your emotions by diminishing your savings.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

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Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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