Ironically enough, while I was surfing for the best way to offer support to the victims of the disaster in Haiti, I came across an interesting article addressing this question. It referenced a 2006 study published in Science magazine. The research concluded that there is an inverse relationship between having "money on the mind" and compassion. Significantly, people who were "primed" to think about money were measured in various areas of social interaction, such as helpfulness, caring and collaboration. The result? Not so good. They were more aloof, indifferent to the needs of others and more isolated from social interaction in general.
So ummm, okay, says me to myself: time to look in the mirror here. Has a focus on frugal living made me less forthcoming or spontaneously generous? Has thinking about savings goals and controlling expenses crowded out energy I direct outwardly toward others? You know, I actually think that might be true in my case. I'll have to do some soul searching on this one!
What do you think? Has your focus on saving changed the quantity and/or quality of your interactions with others? How do you maintain a balance?