If your goal is to save money, budgeting and tracking your spending can go a very long way. But now, thanks to science, there are some new discoveries proving that building wealth and having more self-control around spending has much ado with having the right mindset and certain disciplines.
Consider these four behavioral tricks that have been proven to help keep more money in our bank accounts.
1. Shop, But Don’t “Check Out”
Sometimes we just like the “idea” of having something – a new car, watch, purse – but once we own it, it fails to fulfill the fantasy.
A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that materialistic consumers may receive more pleasure from just wanting products than they do from actually purchasing and owning them.
So the next time you find yourself shopping online, feel free to add items to your cart. But then, walk away. And if you’re in a physical store, leave the item with the cashier (you usually have 24 hours to come back and buy it). Give yourself the time and space to distance yourself from the merchandise. Do you still want it? For what it’s worth, data finds that in the last six months, 78% of online shopping carts were abandoned.
2. Exercise More
Want to save more? Start doing some push-ups! It’s not only good for your heart, it’s good for your wallet. Multiple studies have now made the connection between your physical and fiscal health. Most recently, a study by the American Heart Association found that patients with heart disease who exercised regularly saved $2,500 a year on health costs. Even healthy patients who exercised as recommended had lower average medical costs.
And if you ask me, another reason working out is a smart way to save is because it keeps you from performing other, more expensive deeds – like shopping online!
3. Stay Organized
Clutter can be costly. It’s not just because we’re holding onto items that can be recycled, donated or sold (or spending hundreds of dollars a month on a storage facility). An academic study found that a lack of organization in a room can stimulate a greater desire to spend. To quote the study, “All participants were asked how they felt about paying for a variety of products ranging from an HDTV to movie tickets. The authors found that people in the cluttered room said they were more likely to purchase the products compared to the people placed in the organized room.”
4. Keep Crisp Bills in Your Wallet
Ever get a new $50 or $100 bill and spend the first minute or two examining it? It’s kind of hard – painful even – to break a $100, isn’t it? (Maybe that’s just me?) But the fact is, we tend to be more wow’d by bills in larger denominations, perhaps because we don’t come by them as frequently. Big bills also tend to be in nicer, physical conditions in my experience, which makes me give them a special place in my wallet. Don’t believe me? A Journal of Consumer Research study found that “people are more likely to spend dirty, crumpled currency and hold on to new bills.”
Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note “Mint Blog” in the subject line).
Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.