Sour economic times surface the uglier facets of human nature: Crime, penury, and addictions. We’ll all feel the need to soothe away the pain of collapse for the foreseeable future. Luckily, there are beneficial ways to play out pain-induced compulsions–and less productive ones. The best lifestyle option is always moderation, but if that kind of discipline just isn’t in you, review the addictions below for inspiration:
The 5 Best Addictions
It’s fun, it’s addictive, and someone usually reads it. What better way to pass time? Best yet, it may function as a portfolio, resume booster, or, if you tend to be of the more verbose ilk, a way to make like-minded friends. And enemies.
In sum, blogging is a great way to stay entertained on the cheap.
Exercise reaps innumerable health benefits, making it a beneficial addiction to entertain during hard times. Walking and jogging have the lowest overhead (one pair of good sneakers) and give the most instant gratification. For winter, the Nintendo Wii is another good bet—and beats gym fees in the long run.
Work addictions don’t exactly foster functional families, but they sure do pay off monetarily. If you are in a position where excessive work won’t harm crucial relationships, and you’re able to funnel your compulsions into productivity, this addiction is for you. To make sure your addiction pays well, make sure you either get paid by the hour, make overtime, or have a salaried position with room to grow. Entrepreneurship also serves work addicts well.
If you have a cheap hobby, such as knitting, birdwatching, or book clubs, it’s time to get compulsive. Aspire to be an expert in your field so that you have a goal to prompt your addiction into action.
If your hobby is expensive, find a way to do it on the cheap—or replace it entirely. Downgrading equipment and memberships may make your hobby more affordable. If you must give it up, find something equally compelling. Do not turn to cognac (below).
5) Religion or philosophy
When the going gets tough, the tough get religious. Your religious tradition can be an excellent source of support, inspiration, and relief. If you are not religious, your philosophy may provide a similar sense of solace. Many people find addiction to adage extremely helpful during hard times.
If your dogma requires that you hate people, however, you may find that a religious addiction fosters paranoia as well as peace. The beliefs you involve yourself—and their consequences—are ultimately your own choice.
The 5 Worst Addictions
Like wine and beer, cognac can be purchased for cheap. Unfortunately, an addiction to cheap cognac is an actual health hazard that will pickle your liver in a smooth half-decade. Assuming you polish off two bottles of reasonable to excellent cognac a week, an addiction can set you back from $80 to $13,000/week. Better to stick to Pabst Blue Ribbon or Franzia.
2) Prescription Drugs
Scarce employment and limited health insurance make this addiction a very expensive prospect. When you receive prescription drugs, research them for addictive potential, and keep an eye on your intake habits. It is very easy to end up with a cabinet full of prescription drugs after only a couple of doctor visits. Don’t get too cozy with your little white pills, or you’ll find your pockets empty in a flash.
3) Slot Machines
If you must gamble, try something with a higher probability of winning, like blackjack. Don’t let bright colors and blinky lights fool you–slot machines will almost invariably rip you off.
This addiction might serve the macroeconomy well, but in an unstable employment environment, individuals need to squirrel away money for hard times. Foresaking those new Seven jeans and Burberry boots in favor of cheaper, albeit less trendy, duds will go a long way towards keeping your personal finances in the black. You may want to give up and join the bankrupt masses, but if you can spare yourself this trouble, it’s well worth looking less suave for a little while.
5) Doctors’ visits
Although unemployment numbers have gone up, healthcare costs have gone anywhere but down. Check out these frightening statistics from the National Coalition on Healthcare:
• Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.
• A new survey shows that more than 25 percent said that housing problems resulted from medical debt, including the inability to make rent or mortgage payments and the development of bad credit ratings.
• About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs.
It is a fundamentally bad time to develop hypochondria, Munchausen’s, or any other syndrome that doesn’t kill you, but takes you to the doctor all the time. If you must get sick, make sure it is acute and ultimately harmless, or that it’s something your insurance covers. Preventative measures such as exercise, relaxation, and healthy eating go a long way to prevent chronic problems.