Understanding the Psychology of Spending can Save You Money

As a recent article published here on Accumulating Money has demonstrated, there are several reasons why people spend more money than they earn, and all of us, no matter who we are, have spent more than we should have at some point in our lives. While saving money does take discipline and willpower, it may also be beneficial to think about your moods and behaviors that cause you to spend money in the first place. When we plan to save money, we usually think of the specific objects on which we are spending our money and what we can do to eliminate these expenditures, without giving much thought to the overarching reasons we are spending money on these items in the first place.

Psychology Today recently published an article that discusses studies indicating that we tend to spend more when we are in bad mood. When we are feeling unfulfilled, we seek to fill the emptiness by engaging in different behaviors. Spending is the most common behavior, simply because unlike drugs, excessive drinking, or other risky behaviors, spending money is perfectly legal and does not carry the same sort of social stigma that the former behaviors do.

One study cited in the article was headed by a Harvard professor of public policy and management, Susan Lerner. In the study, a group of test subjects viewed a sad film about a dying boy’s mentor, and another group of participants viewed a neutral film about the Great Barrier Reef. At the end of each movie, the participants who viewed the sad film reported that they would be willing to spend 30% more on a highlighter set as compared to the group that watched the neutral film.

In light of this evidence, it may be good to seek to be aware of your mood before going out and being in situations in which you’d be spending. Just like it’s a bad idea to go to the grocery store when you’re hungry, it’s a bad idea to go shopping when you’re feeling down.

Another way to curb spending habits is to think about other areas in your life outside of finances that could use improvement. For example, if you are unsatisfied with your job, if you feel as though waking up in the morning and just the thought of going to work puts you in a bad mood, taking the time to consider and achieve a career switch could give you the forward momentum you need to get out of your rut. If you aren’t yet ready for a career change but want to work on something that drives your passions, take up an old hobby that you’ve let slide, whether it’s a playing an instrument, cooking, or simply reading more.

Another area in which people commonly can stand to improve is in their relationships with friends and family. Think about a friend or family member whom you’ve lost touch for a while, and give them a call or write them a long email update. Simple communication with loved ones is often a great way to enhance our mood and overall well-being.

Taking the time to actively combat bad moods before they get the better of you will in turn increase your day-to-day satisfaction. When you are more satisfied with your life overall, you’ll feel invigorated to put more energy into your work and relationships instead of wasting your time and money on spending. Even though it may seem far-fetched that simple mood enhancement can save you money, think about it the next time you buy something you don’t need, and note how you feel. You’d be surprised by how a little self-improvement can go a long way toward building your nest-egg.

Roger Elmore writes on the topics of hotel management degree. He welcomes your comments at his email Id: rogerelmore24 @gmail.com.

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