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Why does it feel so good to spend money?
Apr 30, 2024
Season 6 | Episode 4

Why does it feel so good to spend money?

We're going shopping!

Ryan feels a little down about not winning a podcasting award. When they get Malin’s question about why it feels so good to spend money, Bridget suggests they go on a shopping spree to cheer him up! And it works — thanks to some brain chemicals and Ryan’s Emotions Elf. But when the shopping trip gets a bit out of hand, those happy emotions turn into regret and fear, and the duo need to get help from experts to understand what shopping does to our brains and how to have a healthier relationship with spending.

Tips for grownups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids

Keep the conversation going at home!

Money Talks

After you and your kid listen to the episode, here are some questions you can ask her or him to see how much they learned about spending money:

  1. Have you ever spent too much money while shopping and felt buyer’s remorse, like Ryan? How did you deal with those feelings of regret? (Parents, if you’ve ever had a money failure, this is a good time to talk about what you learned from that experience.)
  2. What’s an example of something you value? How do you think you can choose to spend, or not spend, in line with that value?
  3. What’s something you’re really grateful for? Spend some time talking about what that is and why thinking about it makes you happy.
  4. What’s one way to be more mindful of your spending habits?
  5. *Bonus* Not-So-Random Question: What’s the best thing you ever bought or paid money for?

Tip Jar

For listeners who want to keep learning about saving and spending money, we’ve got ideas!

  • If your young listener gets caught up in the dopamine thrill of spending money, consider helping them keep track of their spending for a period of time. Then go over the list together and talk about which purchases still seem like a good idea, and which ones they’ve come to regret.
  • Talking about money failures can be awkward. Check out this episode from “Million Bazillion” to learn why that is and ways to overcome the uncomfortable feelings that sometimes come with talking about money. There are even conversation starters for kids and parents!

Gimme 5

Thanks for listening to this episode! If it inspired any money conversations with your family, we’d like to hear more! Send us a note about how it went using this online form.

This episode is sponsored by Greenlight. Get one month free and earn $10 today when you sign up for Greenlight at greenlight.com/million.


BRIDGET: [TALKING ON PHONE] Yeah, my allergies have been terrible and I’m just heading into the studio now to record–



BRIDGET: Ahhh! [ON PHONE] I gotta call you back. [TO RYAN] Ryan! What are you doing sitting here in the dark? 

RYAN: (shrugs) Eh, nothin’

BRIDGET: Is it alright if I turn these lights on?


BRIDGET: Can I turn off this sad music?


BRIDGET: I need to record some lines for our next episode.

RYAN: Go ahead… Or not. It hardly matters anymore.  

BRIDGET: Everything OK? … Something’s wrong … what happened … ? Is it your cat, Mr. Skimbleshanks? 

RYAN: Skimbleshanks is fine … I just got some bad news … 

BRIDGET: What is it?

RYAN: I entered Million Bazillion for a Teddy Award … they’re like the Oscars for podcasters.

BRIDGET: Never heard of ‘em … 

RYAN: Yeah… well … we didn’t win … 


BRIDGET: That’s OK … I didn’t even know these awards existed until a second ago.

RYAN: But I really wanted to win this year. We were up against, you know (MUMBLES) Borpo.

BRIDGET: Well, even though- to me, that award has literally zero significance- I can tell you’re really bummed, so… let’s cheer you up.

RYAN: Nothing can permeate my impervious chamber of sadness. I’m just going to sit here … in the dark…


RYAN… alone … if you don’t mind … 

BRIDGET: Alright, let’s try something else. I’m gonna play our opening theme and a question from a listener and kick off the show like normal and maybe that’ll cheer you up.

–Theme Music–

BRIDGET: Welcome back to Million Bazillion. I’m Bridget. 

Ryan: And I’m…. (SIGHS) Nobody cares.

BRIDGET: OK well, he’s Ryan and We Help Dollars Make More Sense. C’mon Ryan, brighten up! We’ve got a money question to answer. Let’s hear it.

MALIN: Hi, I’m Malin, I’m 7 years old, and I live in Madison, Wisconsin. And my question is why does it feel good to spend money? Bye!

RYAN: Hmmm, this “spending money”… Does it actually make people feel better? 

BRIDGET: Oh yeah. You’ve got some money in your pocket, you’re headed to the store to get that thing you want, you actually buy it! And then you just have all this excitement about how great it’s going to be to have this new thing! 

RYAN: Hmm, now that you mention it, I do get really excited when I buy video games. Wait a minute-  Are you thinking what I’m thinking? 


BRIDGET: That we should head to the mall, do some shopping to give you the boost you need to forget all about the Teddy awards and get outta the dumps…and then we just pay attention while we’re spending the money and really figure out why it’s making us feel happy, so we can really answer Malin’s question?!


BRIDGET/RYAN: (TOGETHER) Let’s go shopping! 

BRIDGET: Right after this! 

–Asking Random Kids NOT SO Random Questions–

ANNOUNCER: And now it’s time for Asking Random Kids Not So Random Questions. Today’s question is: what’s the best thing you ever bought?

RANDOM KIDS: “I think the best thing I ever bought was my unicorn UNO set.” “One of the books that I bought at my school’s bookstore.” “Rainbow candy canes.” “Squishmallow.” “Dungeons & Dragons miniatures.” “I think that the best thing that I’ve ever bought was a LEGO set that was a tree house. It was a lot of money, but I think it was worth it.”

ANNOUNCER: That was Elena in Texas. Danny in Illinois. Frank in Minneapolis. And Quinn, Nora, and Sofia in California. This has been Asking Random Kids Not So Random Questions.

Part 1:


BRIDGET: Welcome back to Million Bazillion … we just got to the Great Mall of America, a mall so famously big there’s a roller coaster in it.


BRIDGET: And today we’re trying to find the answer to Malin’s question about why it feels good to spend money.

RYAN: And since I needed some cheering up … we’ve decided to go on a shopping spree.

BRIDGET: So where should we start …oh, there’s the video game store you like!

RYAN: Oh, there is a new video game I’ve been wanting so much! It is the Super Delingo Brothers Derby Kart Race Country Smashfest…

BRIDGET: Okay, let’s buy it! And just pay really close attention to how you’re feeling and why while we do it.

RYAN: Hold on, I’m not with the name yet- DoubleTrouble Triple Player Immersive VR AI 360 Experience… Part Two. Point Five.

BRIDGET: Ok, let’s see if that have that one.



RYAN: (DEBONAIR) Um, sir, would you happen to carry the  Super Delingo Brothers Derby Kart Race Country Smashfest DoubleTrouble Triple Player Immersive VR AI 360 Experience Part Two. Point Five? [ASIDE] Okay, that felt good, I’m getting closer to getting my hands on that game!

VIDEO STORE WORKER: (LAUGHS) Pfff, we’ve been sold out of that one for weeks, man.

RYAN: [ASIDE] Ok, this does not feel so good anymore!

BRIDGET: Could you check in the back maybe?

VIDEO STORE WORKER: Pretty sure there’s none back there.

BRIDGET: Please. It’s really important to my friend.

VIDEO STORE WORKER: (SIGHS) Ok. But it’s not gonna be there.

RYAN: It’s ok. I can always go back into a dark room and sulk.

VIDEO STORE WORKER: Yo’ dude … you’re in luck … one extra copy was at the bottom of the shipping box. It’s gotta be the last one around anywhere for miles.

RYAN: This. Is. Awesome! Every ounce of despair in my body has turned to pure elation! Ring it up, good sir!… (WHISPERS) Bridget, can I borrow the company card? 

BRIDGET: See Ryan, going shopping is working … I haven’t seen you this happy since we met that talking dog doing yoga in the park …

RYAN: I know, right?! I think Malin, our listener who sent in the question, is onto something. Shopping may just be the cure for every problem I’ll ever have! 

DOLORES: Ahem … it’s actually me …


DOLORES: Hola, Ryan! 

BRIDGET: Whoa! Ryan! What’s that on your shoulder?

RYAN: Ahhh! Uhhh, do I know you? 

DOLORES: I’m Dolores …  I’m the part of your brain that FEELS things. And I like making you feel HAPPY most of all! Think of me as like, an Emotions…Elf! That sits on your shoulder!   … Nice to meet you! 

BRIDGET: You’re on Ryan’s shoulder? Shouldn’t you be in his head?

DOLORES: Yeah, I spend most of my time in Ryan’s head, or occasionally in the pit of his stomach, but I sometimes come out to the shoulder when I want to whisper a suggestion in his ear.

RYAN: Wait, I’m feeling really confused right now. 

DOLORES: Yeah, I know. I’m also the one making you feel confused. But… let’s not focus on that … let’s focus on the positive! And by that I mean shopping! Have you noticed every time you decide to buy something fun, you get this big rush of anticipation and excitement to bring it home?  And then YOU feel happy and I get this big surge of dopamine!


DOLORES: That’s a chemical in your brain that makes you feel excited about a potential reward! 

BRIDGET: [ASIDE] Huh, I used to feel this way about playing claw machines. 

RYAN: Wow! I didn’t expect this at all but now that you say it, it totally makes sense! 

DOLORES: This morning, you were feeling bad. Why?

RYAN: We didn’t win a Teddy Award. 

DOLORES: Yeah, but what was the underlying emotion there?

RYAN: That I… wanted to win the Teddy Award? You’re my emotions elf, why don’t you just tell me?

DOLORES: Well, if I had to put it into words. It was because you didn’t feel loved or acknowledged by your peers. A sense of missing out. A disappointment that people don’t think you’re as cool or talented as you’d hoped. Does that ring a bell?

RYAN: (HIT NAIL ON HEAD) Sorta. Sorta. Yeah. Exactly it did. That’s exactly what I was feeling, yes. But look, I’m all good now. I got this new video game. I’m gonna go home and play it for 72 straight hours. I am filled with anticipation! It’s gonna be great.

DOLORES: Oh yum yum yum, I can feel the dopamine [SFX FIREWORKS] surging through your brain!

RYAN: Say, is it possible that if we keep spending money, you can keep generating good feelings and pull me entirely out of my funk?

DOLORES: Oh,  I’m no psychologist, I’m really more of a very sensitive and volatile collection of moods. If you really want a long-term fix, you might start with therapy or meditation. But in the meantime, heck yeah, let’s go shopping! 

RYAN: Yeah, let’s do it! I wanna keep having joy at this incredibly high level forever!

BRIDGET: I’m not sure about spending this recklessly  but I do need some new Jibbitz shoe charms …and we’re really doing this for Malin, so… 


Money money

spend, spend, spend

will this feeling ever end?

Let’s stay in here another hour

flexing all our buying power

Every time you hear that ding

I’ll do my job, you won’t feel a thing

Except a thrill

every time

You run your card at the checkout line


A designer sweater for my cat

A wool V-neck, could he go for that?


Jibbitz charms

for my shoes

Available in packs of twos

scented chapstick, SPF 30

I think I’ll buy a pack of…



In the mall, like uptown ladies

Dropping cash like it’s the ’80s

Spending it all on me, me, me

I feel like a bonfire vanity

In the shopping mall, my emotion’s steady-

Uh oh, a shoe store, are we ready?



Do you have anything in a flat?

Cause if you do, I’ll just take that

Don’t need to make this all ’bout me

Just need to get from A to B


Bridget, why not spring for heels?

Spending gives you happy feels!


New Air Gordons, that’s my shoe!


I think they look good on you.


That cashier says I’m a real cool guy

She must mean it, why would she lie?

I’ll take 20 of those shoes

I mean 20 pairs, so 40 shoes!

I used to be sad but it went away

when I bought this lilac body spray


CASHIER: (SPOKEN) Ahh, my eye!

RYAN: (SPOKEN) Sorry! Sorry!

CASHIER: (SPOKEN) Why did you spray that in my face?!?

RYAN: (SPOKEN) I just wanted to spray a little, so you could smell. I’m so sorry. Are you ok?

CASHIER: (SPOKEN) Yeah, fine. Just don’t spray deodorant in people’s faces. I’ll just ring you up. 


BRIDGET: Phew! What a day at the mall! My feet are killing me. Thanks for letting us stop at your place, Ryan. Where do you want me to set these bags down?

RYAN: Can you put them down over there? Man, I feel like a million bucks! That’s an old-timey pre-inflation way of saying I feel great! 

DOLORES: This was so much fun! See? You’ve already forgotten all about the Teddy Awards! Everything’s good!

BRIDGET: Let’s take a seat and look at all the stuff we got … (rustling through bags) Ryan … I think we might have gone overboard.

RYAN: What are you talking about? I’m really happy with my purchases and I forgot all about those silly awards. 

BRIDGET: I mean … how many pairs of Air Gordons do you need? And since when do you play Pickleball? 

RYAN: Hey, it’s 2021’s hottest sport! Wait a minute, what’s this on the receipt here? $200 for rackets?!? $80 bucks for a designer sweater for Mr. Skimbleshanks.

BRIDGET: $50 in chapstick, what the heck?… 

RYAN: (FIRST SIGN OF WORRY) I don’t even like half of this stuff, but it felt so good to buy at the time. 

DOLORES: Why are you looking at the receipts? There’ no need to look at the receipts.

BRIDGET: Yeah, now I wonder if we did the right thing. 


DELIVERY GUY: (YELLING THROUGH DOOR, OFF-MIC) Delivery. I got 15 boxes out here.

BRIDGET: 15 boxes? What did you order?

RYAN: [SLIGHTLY GUILTILY] I just made a few online purchases in the car on the way home. Once I got started, it just was super easy to keep buying more! Gotta keep the upward dopamine [SFX FIREWORKS] momentum going, y’know!

DOLORES I appreciate it! 

DELIVERY GUY: Where you want ‘em?

RYAN: Here, I’ll take them.


BRIDGET: Ryan, this is maybe getting out of hand.

DOLORES: Pssshaw,  It’s ok, it’s all gonna be fine!

RYAN: Psswhaw, It’s ok, it’s all gonna be fine!

DOLORES: (FEELING SICK) Pretty sure you have all the money to pay for this… (VOICE LOWERS IN PITCH) I’m just starting to feel… not-so-good.  

BRIDGET: (GASP) Dolores, are you ok? 

RYAN: [SLIGHTLY OFF MIC/IN BACKGROUND] Ooh, I’m starting to get a not so good feeling in the pit of my tum-tum…


DOLORES: I probably should’ve warned you-  sometimes after making a bunch of shopping decisions based on my all encompassing desire for dopamine [FIREWORKS], … it’s sometimes followed by something called  “buyers remorse”, a feeling of regret, when I realize what I’ve done.

DOLORES: I probably should’ve warned you-  sometimes after making a bunch of shopping decisions based on my all encompassing desire for dopamine [FIREWORKS], … it’s sometimes followed by something called  “buyers remorse”, a feeling of regret, when I realize what I’ve done 

RYAN: Oh no Bridget … I just realized … not only am I feeling regret for splurging … but I definitely put more on my credit card than I can afford today  and I might go into debt … I’m starting to feel an even worse feeling. 

DOLORES: F-f-f-f-feaer!  

RYAN: Ouch! Dolores are you twisting my intestines into knots?

DOLORES: Sorry, I do that when I get nervous. 

RYAN: Stop it, will ya?

DOLORES: Sorry, it’s just (FRANTIC) Ryan, how you gonna pay your rent? How you gonna pay your electricity bill? What if you lose your job? What if you never make another dollar again? What if your life is ruined all because you bought expensive shoes?

BRIDGET: That’s not gonna happen. Let’s just calm do-

RYAN: [ALSO FRANTIC]  I’m just gonna return all the stuff I bought and if they try to say no returns, I’ll show ‘em my picture of Mr Skimbleshanks and say hey, do you want to be responsible for this cat living on the streets, please please [SOBBING] let me return the video game!

DOLORES: (PLEADING) Not the video game … please not the game! It’s the one thing giving  you any joy! Wait wait, I’ve got an idea, let’s just go BACK to the mall! We felt so good there! 

(OVERLAPPING DUAL DIALOGUE) RYAN: We can’t go back to the mall! We’re gonna end up spending more! Let’s never go outside again!  / DOLORES: Let’s just go back to the mall and never leave it. Pleeeeeeease! Just one more time!

BRIDGET: ENOUGH! You two are spinning out of control! Deep breaths. Count to ten. Let’s stop and eat and drink water and take a minute to calm down. And then we should talk to an expert…not Dolores…to find out what’s going on, and how to fix it. 


DELIVERY GUY #2: (YELLING THROUGH DOOR, OFF-MIC) Hello, delivery for Ryan. I got 20 boxes out here!

BRIDGET: Oh, brother. OK, we’ll be right back! 



Part 2: 


BRIDGET: Okay! Welcome back Million Bazillionaires. To catch you up, earlier I found Ryan totally bummed about not winning some podcast award. 

RYAN: The Teddy Awards.

BRIDGET:Right, yes, those.  I tried to cheer him up with some shopping because that feeling we get when we’re shopping, releases a feel good chemical in our brain, called dopamine [SFX FIREWORKS].  It was really fun at first but that dopamine kinda tricked us into making some purchases that felt good in the short run, but not in the slightly longer run. We’re now surrounded by a bunch of things Ryan bought at the mall and online.


DELIVERY GUY #3: (YELLING THROUGH DOOR, OFF-MIC) Hello?!? Package delivery. I got 10 boxes here.

RYAN: [TERRIFIED AT WITS END] Hi, can you please just leave them on the porch? There’s no room left in the house.


DOLORES: (FRAZZLED) Guys, don’t worry. I know this big pile of boxes doesn’t look good. But I think if Ryan just buys a few more things, we can drown out this feeling of worry and get back to the good stuff.

BRIDGET: No! Stop! No one’s buying anything else until we can figure out what’s going on here. I’m  going to call my old college professor to help us sort out why spending money and money itself can be so emotional. Professor Michael Norton is a social scientist and he studies our behavior, especially around money and how spending makes us feel. 


BRIDGET: OK, hang on … it’s ringing … 

PROF. MIKE: Hey, it’s Mike.

BRIDGET: Hi, Professor Mike, It’s Bridget … from Business 101 class a few years ago … remember me? I host a money podcast for kids and we’re wondering if is it okay, if we ask you a couple of questions? 

PROF MIKE: Oh, I’d love that. 

BRIDGET: So earlier, Ryan and I were shopping, and then we were having all this fun spending money. And we were feeling so happy at first, but then felt so bad. What’s up with that?

PROF MIKE: Sometimes when we consume too much, we end up feeling badly about it. So you can think about, if you got a huge thing of ice cream,

DOLORES: I LOVE ice cream!!

PROF MIKE: Every single bite of the ice cream is still good, you start to feel a little bit sick after a while. But it’s still ice cream. So you keep going until you eat the entire thing. And then you’ll feel really sick. And then we feel badly, we feel guilty about it, we might even feel a little bit ashamed of ourselves that we sort of lost control.

RYAN: Well that definitely feels like what happened to us today. 

PROF MIKE: And the same thing can happen with our money. We have all sorts of emotions around money …  Every time we spend money, we are getting something that we wanted.  And then later on when we reach into our pocket and we spent all of our money, just like when we   ate all the ice cream, we kind of have a stomachache, we feel badly about it. And we wish a little bit that we had done something differently. 

BRIDGET: Oh, okay. So basically…Ryan and I felt good about buying the video game, which was fine, but then we kept buying and basically spent too much. Oof. What should Ryan and I have done differently? 

PROF MIKE: one thing that we can really  show that actually does make us happier in the long run isn’t so much buying stuff for ourselves, but buying experiences for ourselves./ Doing things instead of buying things are things that actually do tend to make us happy,

RYAN : Ah … so like going to the movies … might make us feel happier than buying another toy. 

BRIDGET: Okay but is there some way to get like, more happiness from spending less money? I am asking for a friend. The friend is Ryan. 

PROF MIKE: “You should tell them that a professor told you that they should spend all their money on you.” 

BRIDGET: On me?? You hear that Ryan??

RYAN: What, no way?

PROF MIKE: When you buy something for somebody else, /you’re not only making somebody else happy, you can see them smile, they say thank you, you feel like a really great person. You get to experience their happiness. /It really changes how much happiness we can get out of the same amount of money because now two people are getting happy instead of only one person yourself. 

DOLORES: This is a RADICAL idea!

RYAN:. Okay so I’m really learning a lot from this. Next time, when I’m deciding what to spend my money on, I should remember that I’ll probably feel happier if I’m spending that money on experiences, like doing a fun activity, than buying an object. And if it’s something I can do with a friend, and they find happiness in it, that’s even better. 

DOLORES: Ryan, that means you CAN keep the video game! If you invite some friends over to play with you! 

RYAN: OOh! Good idea. (TO SELF) Note to self: make some friends.

BRIDGET: Thanks so much for your time professor

RYAN: Bye, Professor  Norton. I mean,  professor Mike. Bye. Thanks.

PROF MIKE: Thank you so much. It was fun to talk to you


BRIDGET: Okay Ryan, uh, and Dolores…how you feeling after that call with Professor Mike?

RYAN: I feel pretty good. Like with the power of science, I can keep my emotion elf under control!



RYAN: Ugh, I didn’t mean it like that, uh, is that another package delivery at the door?


RYAN: Hello?

REEMA: Why hello, it’s me, Reema Khrais, host of the Marketplace podcast, This Is Uncomfortable. A show all about life and how money messes with it. I’m here because I can just *feel that you guys are podcasting in here…and I didn’t want to miss out

BRIDGET: Hey Reema! Wow, your podcasty-sense is right on!

RYAN: Hi Reema, come on in. Just crawl through the tunnel I dug through my mountain of boxes. You want some tea? Ah, kitchen door’s blocked, forget I asked. Anyway, We’ve actually just figured out that my emotions elf is a little too dependent on the dopamine rush [FIREWORKS SFX] that my brain gets when I go shopping and just finished talking to a social scientist who has studied other ways to increase the amount of joy you feel, without increasing the amount of money you’re spending. 

REEMA: Sounds like some standard podcast fare, that’s pretty good. But you know…you can do more to have a healthier relationship with money, that is not ruled by your brain chemicals.

DOLORES: [TO SELF] Do I like this? I don’t know if I like this. Who is she anyway? Is she gonna come after me?


REEMA: Look, I’ve talked to a lot of people about the way they’ve used spending to fill another need in their life. But that’s not a healthy way to think about money. This is what you should do instead. 


REEMA: First, you gotta figure out what you value in life and then try to spend your money based on that value. Like maybe you value music, you really love bopping around to a good tune. Then, great! You can save your money to spend on a live concert, or maybe you could even buy a fun instrument like a banjo and take banjo lessons. Then if you’re inspired to buy something else that seems cool, just pause and think…wait, is this something I actually value? 

RYAN: As the philosopher Socrates once said, Know thyself! 

DOLORES:  (WHISPERING) Good one, Ryan! I think you’re impressing Reema!

RYAN: (WHISPERING) Thanks, I read it on a coffee cup.

REEMA: I am very impressed. Anyway, then I would say start setting aside time to practice gratitude. Think about how grateful you are for the things you do have. Remember all the enjoyment you take from it. Get in the habit of being excited about what you already did, instead of only paying attention to what you want to do next. 

RYAN: I get it, because then you feel happy when you bought the thing, and you can feel happy REMEMBERING how great it was that you bought a thing! 

DOLORES: Happy feels! You know I love those for you.

REEMA: It’s also really important that you don’t compare yourself to other people, comparison is a trap to feeling not so great about what you’ve got. We’re all on different journeys and you don’t need to spend money on something just because your friend has it, especially if it’s a thing you don’t even care for. 

BRIDGET: That’s a great point. Like they say, “compare and despair.”

RYAN: Yes, like a wise man once said, “Whether you have a head full of hair or your head is bare, don’t compare, it isn’t fair…. When you’re at the fair…” 

DOLORES: Quit while you’re ahead, Ryan.

RYAN: Sorry…

REEMA:  *chuckle* And finally, just be kind to yourself. You’re still learning and it’s OK if you make a spending mistake. It’s ok to spend money on something that makes you happy, just be sure you’re being honest about it. Is this purchase a quick fix for something else, or is it really going to make me happy in the long run?


RYAN: Wow. I feel so empowered now! Thanks, Reema!

BRIDGET: Yeah, thank you, Reema!

REEMA: No problem. I’m always around to help if you want to talk about life and how money messes with it. See ya later!

RYAN: Careful through the boxes on the way out the door. You ok? You have a plan?

REEMA: Yeah, I think so… Ah, ok, I’m out. 

BRIDGET/RYAN: Bye! See ya!

[SFX: Door Close]

BRIDGET: Ryan, I think I know what we need to do next. Let’s go back to the mall and put everything that we just learned to the test!  And then let’s see how it makes us feel! 

DOLORES: Ok, good. But just one more online purchase before we go? Crocks are on sale but I have to buy them right now

BRIDGET: Dolores, no!

How to: Start a coin collection

ADA: Hi Million Bazillionaires. I’m Ada from Lawrence, Kansas. This part of the show is the real experts, kids like you and me share knowledge with each other on how to do all sorts of cool things. Today, I’m going to share my top three tips on how to start a coin collection. First, decide what kind of collection you want to start. For example, I like to collect Wheaties, which which are pennies that have two stems of wheat on the back. Next, find an adult with pockets of coins. Find a big table and start sorting. Make piles of nickels, pennies, dimes, and quarters. Finally, get some books to organize your collection. I got mine from my grandfather. Let us know how your coin collection is going. Send us a note at millionbazillion@marketplace.org. Thanks for listening. Bye.

Part 3:


RYAN: Welcome back to Million Bazillion. Our shopping spree made me feel better for a little while … but then we took it a bit too far and other kinds of feelings about money started popping up. So now we’re back at the mall, with Dolores on my shoulder.

DOLORES: So what’s up? Are we buying more stuff?

BRIDGET: Yes, but not how you think. First,  Ryan’s gonna return all the stuff he doesn’t need and we’re about to conduct an experiment. … 

DOLORES: Experiment, eh?  I’m starting to feel worry bubbling up again, but with a tinge of… hope? I’m, like, worried-hopeful. Or hope-worried. It’s a strange feeling. I can’t quite put it into words. What is this experiment anyway?

BRIDGET:  This is something I learned from Professor Mike. He runs experiments that make people shop and then checks how they feel after. So here’s how it’s gonna go…we each get $10 and 30 minutes to spend it. We’ve just learned some tips from Professor Mike and from Reema, about maximizing our money happiness. So decide how you’re gonna spend your money, and then we’ll meet back here in 30. 

RYAN: Let’s do this! 


BRIDGET: OK, we’re back.  … Let’s  see what we bought! . Professor Mike suggested experiences, so I did that. I wanted to ride that really cool roller coaster, but turns out that’s $15 dollars. 

RYAN: Wow, inflation in action.

BRIDGET: So I bought a ticket to the slower, yet no less thrilling carousel. I selected the painted pony. A good selection, I think. And I feel pretty good about it! Not a bad way to spend a few minutes at the mall! 

RYAN: Yeah, pretty good. Pretty good.

BRIDGET: Ok, now how did you spend the money, Ryan??

RYAN: Well, I sat and thought about how much fun we had shopping earlier. Like we were on a real mission for the show. And we got to sing that great song that really showcased my vocal strengths. And I thought about how grateful I am that we do this podcast together.  And then I didn’t end up spending anything at all. I’m gonna save that money for later.


BRIDGET: Wow, yeah, that’s really great. What a change from the start of the day.  It’s kinda funny how there are all these feelings tied up in spending money. Excitement, happiness, regret, fear. That’s all because when we get excited about buying something, that anticipation for a reward sets off a big dopamine rush in our brains. That’s a chemical that makes our brains feel happy. But that happiness might not last, depending on the spending choices we made. And if you get carried away with spending money to chase after those happy feelings, you’re gonna be in for a big crash of regret! 

RYAN: And there are different ways to overcome this, if you’re stuck in a dopamine cycle, egged on by your emotions elf sitting on your shoulder! No offense Dolores. You can spend your money differently, like on experiences or on other people. Or, you can really stop and think about why you spend money on the things you do. Is it what you value? Take time to be grateful for what you have already, instead of chasing after that shopping dopamine rush. And, you know, cut yourself some slack when you fail. It happens to the best of us!

BRIDGET: Oh, I almost forgot- what did you spend your money on, Dolores?

DOLORES: Oh! Me? I spent my whole ten dollars on a little Teddy bear for you two. Cause even though you may not have won the Teddy Award, you can always have this Teddy Bear as a reminder from your own emotions that you’re trying your best.

RYAN: Wow, such a perfect gift for me. How did you know what I wanted?

DOLORES: Well, I do live inside your head most of the time, so pretty easy, actually. Sorry, Bridget, I know the Teddy Awards aren’t as significant for you.

BRIDGET: Yeah, I still barely know what they are. But I really appreciate the bear. We’ll treasure it always.


DOLORES: Okay Ryan, time that I go back into your head!

RYAN: Thanks, Dolores. I’ll never forget you. And the way you make me feel. 


DOLORES: [VERY LITERALLY] I know, Ryan, I’m your Emotions Elf. We just spent the whole episode talking about this. I’m always in your head and literally controlling how you feel. 

RYAN: Right, right, I know. I was just trying to say…thanks. 

DOLORES: [RELIEVED] Aww, thank you, Ryan! Keep chasing those Dopamine Dreams!

BRIDGET: But in a thoughtful and careful way!


-Theme Music-

BRIDGET: Alright, that’s it for *this episode of Million Bazillion! Thanks for listening! Make sure to check out the tipsheet linked in the show notes if you want to learn more about spending money, and your brain!

RYAN: We’ll be back next week to answer the question, What is bankruptcy? I bet you’ve still got your own money questions though and we’d love to hear them. Send those to us through our website, marketplace dot org slash million. 

BRIDGET: And you can also sign up for our newsletter at our website too, so you can be the first to get new episodes of Million Bazillion, straight to your inbox! 

RYAN:  Million Bazillion is brought to you by Marketplace, from American Public Media. This episode was written by Marissa Cabrera, Ryan Perez, and Bridget Bodnar. 

RYAN: This episode had some additional voicing from Meredith Garretson, Jay Siebold, and Bekah Wineman. 

BRIDGET: Our editor is Jasmine Romero. Courtney Bergsieker is our producer. And Marissa Cabrera is our senior producer. Thalia Menchaca is our intern. Our sound designer is Chris Julin. Bekah Wineman mixed this episode. 

RYAN: Our theme music was created by Wonderly. Bridget Bodnar is the Director of Podcasts at Marketplace. Francesca Levy is the Executive Director of Digital. Neal Scarbrough is the VP and General Manager.

BRIDGET: Million Bazillion is funded in part by the Sy Syms Foundation, partnering with organizations and people working for a better and more just future since 1985. And special thanks to The Ranzetta Family Charitable Fund and Next Gen Personal Finance for providing the start-up funding for this podcast, and continuing to support Marketplace in our work to make younger audiences smarter about the economy.

RYAN: If Million Bazillion is helping your family have important conversations about money, consider making a one-time donation today at marketplace.org/givemillion, and thanks for your support.


RYAN: Alright, time to return some of these boxes…Ahhhh ohhh!


RYAN: [MUFFLED] Hello? Anybody? I’m trapped  under a pile of my online purchases! [BEAT] Dolores? Bridget? [BEAT] Anybody? (BEAT) I hope one of these boxes has a toilet in it.

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