psychology http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/134/all en-US Your Brain Is Keeping You in Debt (And How to Fix It) http://www.wisebread.com/your-brain-is-keeping-you-in-debt-and-how-to-fix-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-brain-is-keeping-you-in-debt-and-how-to-fix-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_thinking_84125877.jpg" alt="Woman learning how her brain is keeping her in debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your debt never seems to shrink. Each month you resolve to ditch your credit cards, spend less, and devote more money to paying down your outstanding debts. When next month rolls around? You're staring at even more debt.</p> <p>What's the problem? Blame your brain.</p> <p>Recent research from Scientific American suggests that our brains are wired so that when we do decide to pay off our debt, we tend to focus on our smallest ones first. But it'd make much more sense to pay off highest-interest debt first.</p> <h2>Your Brain on Debt</h2> <p>Scientific American, which published the results of its <a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/why-don-t-people-manage-debt-better/">debt study</a> in February of this year, started its research by concluding that the most effective way to battle debt is to pay off those debts that come with the highest interest rates first. Usually, that'd be the debt piling up on one of your credit cards.</p> <p>The reason that this makes the most sense is that higher-interest-rate debt grows more quickly. If you pay that debt down first, your overall debt load will not rise as fast.</p> <p>But instead of attacking higher-interest-rate debt first, consumers usually focus on paying down what they consider the most manageable of their debts, generally the smallest ones they face. They do this even if the interest rates attached to these smaller debts are lower.</p> <p>How did Scientific American determine this? They performed an experiment in which participants were asked to pay multiple debts, all of which came with varying interest rates. Researchers gave these participants a paycheck at the beginning of each round of this game, asking them to use it to pay off their imaginary debts in whatever way they deemed best.</p> <p>According to the study, only 3% of the participants &mdash; just five out of 162 &mdash; focused on paying down the debt with higher interest rates. Scientific American reported that the majority of participants paid off their smaller debts, instead.</p> <p>This isn't just bad money management. It's psychological. Your brain does you no favors when you're battling multiple debts.</p> <p>The Scientific American story says that people are naturally averse to debt accounts. This means that consumers with many different debts naturally want to reduce the total number of these accounts. This pull is so strong, it overwhelms the more rational approach of first paying down those debts that cost the most.</p> <h2>Teach Your Brain to Battle Debt</h2> <p>Can you fight your brain? Can you resist the natural temptation to close out those smaller debt accounts first? Sure, if you focus.</p> <p>Consider the avalanche approach to debt repayment: Consumers pay off those debts with the highest interest rates first, making only the minimum monthly payments on the rest. Once they pay off the debt with the highest interest rate, they then move on to the debt with the second-highest rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=seealso">Snowballs or Avalanches: Which Debt Reduction Strategy Is Best for You?</a>)</p> <p>The benefit here is obvious: Debt with higher interest rates cost consumers more. Eliminating it first saves lots of money in the long run.</p> <p>And if you want to outwit your brain's natural tendency to steer you in the wrong direction? You'll go with the avalanche method, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-brain-is-keeping-you-in-debt-and-how-to-fix-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-a-debt-spiral">5 Ways to Prevent a Debt Spiral</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn&#039;t Diminishing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management avalanche method brain psychology repayment research science thought process Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1835352 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's Why Multitasking and Money Don't Mix http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_work_86169855.jpg" alt="Woman learning why multitasking and money don&#039;t mix" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think you're good at multitasking? You're not.</p> <p>Plenty of research has shown that multitasking simply doesn't work. Our brains can't focus on more than one thing at a time. We might tell ourselves that this isn't true, that we can concentrate on several tasks at once. The truth, though, is that we're fooling ourselves.</p> <p>Multitasking is especially dangerous when it comes to managing our money. You might think that you can juggle several financial tasks at once, everything from building an emergency fund to paying off your credit card debt to saving for the down payment on your first home.</p> <p>But just as your brain can't juggle multiple tasks at once, neither can most people's finances.</p> <p>Here are three reasons why you should never multitask when it comes to managing your money.</p> <h2>It Doesn't Work</h2> <p>In 2014, Psychology Today ran a fascinating feature story about multitasking. The story pointed out that the human brain can't take on simultaneous tasks. We might think we can hold a conversation on our smartphones, surf the Web on our laptop, and text another friend on our tablet at the same time. But we can't, at least not effectively.</p> <p>According to the Psychology Today story, when we multitask, our brain just switches from task to task more quickly, employing a sort of stop/start process. This makes us sloppy, meaning that we make more mistakes. It can also sap our mental energy over time.</p> <p>So what happens when we try to multitask with our finances? We try to pay off debt at the same time we try to build an emergency fund? We get sloppy and we make mistakes. We forget to pay our credit card bill and incur a late fee, or we go months without making a payment into our emergency fund.</p> <p>The better approach? Ditch the multitasking and take on one financial job at a time.</p> <h2>We Don't Get Anything Done</h2> <p>You might think multitasking means you are being more efficient. Actually, it's the opposite. When we take on several tasks at once &mdash; say writing a report at work, answering email messages from colleagues, and trying to schedule dentist appointments for our kids &mdash; we tend to get none of these jobs done in a timely manner.</p> <p>The better approach is to again move away from multitasking and attack these jobs one at a time until we finish each of them.</p> <p>When it comes to managing finances, completing one task at a time again pays dividends. Most financial experts recommend that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">pay off high interest rate credit card debt</a> first by sending extra money at these bills until you eliminate them. It's hard to do this if you're diverting some funds to building an emergency fund at the same time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Money experts recommend creating a plan that starts with eliminating credit card debt, then moves on to building an emergency fund with at least six months' worth of living expenses in it. Once you complete these two tasks, you can then start saving for retirement or for a down payment on a new home.</p> <h2>We Get Depressed</h2> <p>Multitasking is exhausting. If you're constantly juggling three or four tasks at once, it's difficult to focus on any one thing. It's also difficult to take a breather to enjoy life. The constant stress that goes along with multitasking can make you depressed.</p> <p>The same holds true when we multitask money matters. If you are constantly alternating between paying down your credit card debt, saving for retirement, and investing in the stock market, you'll feel like you're not doing a good job at any of these tasks. As your credit card debt continues to grow and your retirement savings don't, it'll be easy to fall into a funk.</p> <p>But if you take on one of these financial tasks at a time? You'll feel a sense of accomplishment when you are able to check off your goals one by one.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">5 Ways Self Storage Units Are More Sad Museums Than Savvy Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization attention span depressed distractions Mistakes money management multitasking psychology Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1813253 at http://www.wisebread.com How "Radical Implosion" Can Help You Get Ahead at Work — and Everywhere Else http://www.wisebread.com/how-radical-implosion-can-help-you-get-ahead-at-work-and-everywhere-else <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-radical-implosion-can-help-you-get-ahead-at-work-and-everywhere-else" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/confident_woman_work_71845173.jpg" alt="Woman using radical implosions to get ahead" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you ever feel like there's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-youre-sabotaging-your-job-hunt">something holding you back</a> at work? Maybe it's social anxiety that keeps you from speaking up in meetings, or a fear of rocking the boat that keeps you from asking for that raise you really deserve.</p> <p>If you're like most people, you probably feel like you've tried everything. You've taken your deep breaths, said your mantras, posed in power positions. And it still didn't work. You just couldn't overcome the fears and insecurities deep inside.</p> <p>Are you serious about making some changes? And committed? Then there's one more thing you might try. It's a technique called <em>radical implosion</em>, and it can help you change for the better &mdash; even in areas where you feel really and truly stuck.</p> <h2>Radical Implosion Explained</h2> <p>Radical implosion is the idea that overcoming a challenge much more difficult than the one you're actually afraid of makes your fear dissipate. Psychologist Albert Ellis <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200703/confidence-stepping-out?page=3">pioneered this approach in 1933</a> when, desperate to learn how to talk to women, he decided he would talk to every woman he found sitting alone on a bench in the New York Botanical Gardens. And over 230 women later, he had overcome his fear.</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/overcome-shyness-with-radical-implosion-1785985698">Will Farrell did something similar</a> when, frustrated with his shyness and the ways he felt it was holding him back, he started doing embarrassing things in public on purpose, until it didn't bother him anymore when people laughed at him. Sure, it sounds crazy, but we all know where it got him!!</p> <h2>Radical Implosion at Work</h2> <p>To apply radical implosion at work, you first have to determine what it is you're afraid of, and then you have to find a way to address that fear from an implosion perspective.</p> <h3>During Meetings</h3> <p>Speaking up in meetings can be terrifying. All of a sudden, there are several people looking at you, focused on you. What if you say the wrong thing, or you can't explain your ideas, or everyone thinks your idea is stupid?</p> <p>To address this from an implosion perspective, think about other times and places where you could stand up, speak, and have the attention of a crowd. Maybe you decide to give an impromptu speech in your local park every Saturday at noon, or try your hand at karaoke, or approach random strangers on a street corner to explain your point of view on something.</p> <p>No matter which of these options you choose, once you've done it, talking to your co-workers in the confined space of a meeting should be a piece of cake.</p> <h3>Asking For a Raise</h3> <p>It's easy to be terrified when asking for more money. After all, if they thought you deserved more, wouldn't you be making it already? And what if they refuse you, or ask you a question you hadn't anticipated, or laugh in your face?</p> <p>One implosion technique to apply here would be to approach random people and ask for something. You could start with the time, and move on to requesting money or food or larger items. When you've done this quite a few times, asking your boss to consider a raise won't be nearly as intimidating.</p> <p>You could also implode this fear by asking a few other people for relatively big things. This requires you having some things that you need or want and people who could give them to you, but it would also make that raise request seem much easier.</p> <h3>Networking</h3> <p>It's hard enough to make friends as an adult, and sometimes networking seems even harder. What if you seem fake, or you can't explain what you do and where you want to go, or you forget your words entirely and speak gobbledygook?</p> <p>Start imploding these fears by approaching random strangers. Pick a number, like 50, and don't go home until you've explained what you do to that many people. Take your business cards with you, because you might end up networking by accident! And when you're done, attending that seminar or meeting with that group with the hopes of making some new connections won't seem so frightening anymore!</p> <h2>Radical Implosion Elsewhere</h2> <p>Work isn't the only place where you can use radical implosion techniques to achieve your goals.</p> <h3>Money</h3> <p>People have many, many fears surrounding money. Some are afraid to spend on themselves, while others are afraid of the chances they will miss if they save. While these aren't necessarily social fears, they can still be attacked with implosion.</p> <p>If you are afraid of budgeting, try budgeting every single dollar for the next six months and see if it kills you. If you are afraid of spending money on yourself, buy the most luxurious vacation you can afford. And if you are afraid of what you will miss out on if you save some of your money, try saving as much as you possibly can for several months.</p> <p>The point here is to go over the top. Don't ease yourself into attacking your fears, but tackle them head on. That way, you will know for sure that whatever you're afraid of isn't actually so bad.</p> <h3>Romance</h3> <p>Does talking to a potential romantic partner make your hands sweaty? Do you get so tongue tied on a date that you end up saying nothing?</p> <p>Radical implosion can help you. Be like Ellis and begin approaching people you might want to date, not to necessarily get a date, but to learn how to strike up a conversation. Or go to a party and make yourself carry on a five-minute conversation with at least 10 potential dates. Over time, you will learn that you can do whatever you felt like you couldn't.</p> <p>These aren't the only situations where radical implosion can help you grow and achieve your goals. This technique, once learned, can help you overcome many fears by showing you that they are not, in fact, deserving of your fear after all.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-radical-implosion-can-help-you-get-ahead-at-work-and-everywhere-else">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-ease-into-a-day-job-after-freelancing">5 Ways to Ease Into a Day Job After Freelancing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-deal-when-you-work-with-someone-you-hate">8 Ways to Deal When You Work With Someone You Hate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-benefits-of-failure">7 Surprising Benefits of Failure</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">How To Write A Resume: 12 Steps To Your Next Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-outliers-by-malcolm-gladwell">Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Life Hacks career career tips face your fears get ahead life hacks psychology success Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1803458 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_money_wallet_86784517.jpg" alt="Man learning signs he has a spending addiction" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all splurge once in awhile, buying that extra pair of shoes or that top-of-the-line laptop computer that we didn't really need.</p> <p>But what if your splurging was something more? What if your splurges were a sign of a deeper shopping addiction?</p> <p>Shopping addiction might sound like a fake condition, but it's real. The World Psychiatric Association refers to it as compulsive buying disorder, or CBD. According to the association, CBD is characterized by excessive shopping and buying decisions that lead to either remorse or, even worse, prevent you from paying your bills, socializing, or interacting with your family members.</p> <p>The association says that 5.8% of the U.S. population battles this condition throughout their lives.</p> <p>How do you know if you are suffering from CBD? Here are seven clues that your shopping is more than just a fun diversion:</p> <h2>1. You Hide Your Purchases</h2> <p>We're supposed to buy items to use them. But those suffering from shopping addiction often hide their purchases deep inside bedroom closets, under their beds, or in other hiding spots. Why? They are hiding their purchases from a spouse, partner, or family member. Those suffering from shopping addictions often want to hide the evidence of their overspending. This is one of the top warning signs of a spending addiction.</p> <h2>2. You Constantly Break Your Household Budget</h2> <p>Each month, you vow to keep your spending within the budget you've set for your household. But every month, your spending shatters your careful plans. You might feel remorse over this, but you overspend every month anyway. This inability to stick to a spending plan is another of the key signs that your shopping habits are out of control.</p> <h2>3. Your Overspending Happens All Year Long</h2> <p>It's easy to overspend during certain times of the year, such as during the winter holidays. Overspending all year long, though, is a more serious sign of a serious spending addiction. The World Psychiatric Association makes it a point to say that compulsive buying disorder isn't just a seasonal problem; it's a yearlong spending pattern.</p> <h2>4. You Buy Items You Don't Need</h2> <p>Do you come home from a shopping trip with bags full of clothing you'll never wear or electronics that you'll never use? Buying items that you neither want nor need is another sign that your shopping habits are out of control.</p> <h2>5. You Can't Buy Just One</h2> <p>Buying one pair of jeans isn't so bad. Coming home with a dozen? That's troubling. Buying items compulsively is another big sign of a shopping addiction. If you can't just buy one pair of shoes, and instead feel compelled to buy eight &mdash; that's a good sign that your shopping is controlling you instead of the other way around.</p> <h2>6. Remorse</h2> <p>How often do you feel remorse or guilt when returning home after a shopping spree? If it's often, you might be struggling with a spending addiction. The World Psychiatric Association says that remorse is one of the top signs exhibited by consumers who are not in control of their spending habits. You should be able to return from a shopping trip pleased with your purchases. If you're feeling the opposite, it might be time to seek help from a therapist.</p> <h2>7. You're Anxious When You're Not at the Store</h2> <p>Finally, if you often find yourself anxious when not spending, you might be suffering from a significant spending addiction. You should be able to relax and enjoy the time you're not spending at the stores. If this contentment eludes you, and if instead you are constantly planning out or imagining your next visit to a shopping mall, you might be a sufferer of CBD.</p> <h2>Where to Turn for Help</h2> <p>If you do feel you may have a problem with shopping addiction, you have several options. Donald Black MD, a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, told WebMD that there are no medications or standard <a href="http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/shopping-spree-addiction?page=3">treatments for shopping addiction</a>, and that some doctors seek to treat underlying depression with antidepressants or behavior modification therapy. Ultimately, Black said, behavior change is necessary. Other doctors interviewed told WebMD that suffers should seek help from groups like Debtor's Anonymous or local credit counseling agencies, as well, as most shopping addicts are heavily indebted.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into">6 Terrible Money Situations You Need to Stop Getting Yourself Into</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">Don&#039;t Let &quot;Lizard Brain&quot; Derail Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stop-your-mindless-spending">5 Ways to Stop Your Mindless Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping cbd compulsive buying disorder Help overspending psychology shopaholic spending addiction therapy wasting money Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1793092 at http://www.wisebread.com Create a Reverse Bucket List to Improve Your Money Management http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-reverse-bucket-list-to-improve-your-money-management <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/create-a-reverse-bucket-list-to-improve-your-money-management" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_notebook_thinking_73069659.jpg" alt="Woman creating reverse bucket list for money management" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having financial goals is a wonderful thing. And having lofty ones is even better, because it pushes you to see exactly what you can do &mdash; maybe even more than you'd ever thought possible with your money.</p> <p>But, some days, having goals is just plain frustrating. When you're always looking at where you haven't gotten to yet or what you haven't yet achieved, it's easy to feel like you'll never get there, or like you aren't good enough. You might begin to wonder what the point of these goals is, anyway.</p> <p>That's where the reverse bucket list comes in.</p> <h2>Make a Reverse Bucket List</h2> <p>When it comes to your finances, a reverse bucket list is simply a list of things you've already accomplished financially, or a list of goals you've already met.</p> <p>My husband and I tried this recently. On our list, we put things like buying a house, getting away to Cancun last year, not taking on more debt despite several major expenses this year, and paying off my student loan.</p> <p>Some of these things &mdash; like buying a house &mdash; were things that we had made into goals. They were things we wanted to do, things we saved to do, and things we accomplished over time. Others weren't explicit goals, like not taking on more debt. But we added them because they felt like financial accomplishments to us.</p> <p>Take some time to make your list. Some items &mdash; like, for us, paying off the student loans &mdash; might be things that you accomplished years ago, so they may not be in the forefront of your mind. Give yourself a day or two to think over your list, coming back to add things when you remember them.</p> <h2>The Reverse Bucket List and Positivity</h2> <p>The first thing that we felt, when we looked over our final list, was an overwhelming sense of positivity. We have been discouraged lately. This year seems to have been one surprise attack after another when it comes to our money, and it's frustrating to work harder than ever only to see the balances go down.</p> <p>When we looked at our list, though, we started to feel better about ourselves and the way we're living. We are still people who can make good financial decisions, as evidenced by the number of things we've accomplished in that realm. In fact, it's those decisions that put us where we are now &mdash; without any new debt &mdash; even though life hasn't cooperated recently.</p> <p>Looking at our list has also made us feel more positive about continuing to pursue the financial goals we haven't met yet, even though we feel like our most recent progress has been negative. For each item on the list, we can remember the moment where it happened, where we felt proud and happy, and that motivates us to keep putting one foot ahead of the other.</p> <p>Making this list definitely raised our motivation levels and helped us look at our situation realistically. Setbacks happen. They aren't necessarily a commentary on us or our intelligence or our financial prowess. And now, we feel like moving forward again.</p> <h2>Understanding Your Finances Through the Reverse Bucket List</h2> <p>Looking at our reverse bucket list also helped us find some patterns in our spending and saving that will help us as we move forward.</p> <p>For instance, the closer I get to a goal, the more likely I am to pursue it wholeheartedly. When we were just about able to pay off my student loans, I stopped buying everything that wasn't extra. I could see victory, I could taste it, and I wanted it!</p> <p>On the other hand, when I'm not anywhere near meeting any goals, I tend to spend a lot more haphazardly. If I feel like I will never get there, or I feel like we are just going to encounter another setback anyway, I figure I might as well buy what I want while I have the money in my hands.</p> <p>Moving forward, we are planning to structure our goals differently, making them tiered rather than all-or-nothing. That way, I can always feel like I'm just about to achieve something, so I won't be as tempted to spend in any given moment.</p> <h2>Find What Motivates You</h2> <p>When we thought about our list, we also noticed that we are highly motivated by travel. When we saved for travel, we were able to save quickly, simply because we both really love to get on a plane and see somewhere new.</p> <p>Now, when you have a mortgage and other student loans like we do, you can't just make all of your goals about traveling. But we realized that staggering our goals so that travel goals are included in every two or three things we save for would help us.</p> <p>For instance, when we pay off my husband's student loans, we are planning a trip to New Zealand. We know that we can take that trip as soon as these other goals are met. Even if it takes us several years, we will feel more motivated knowing that the travel goal is coming up, even if the gratification isn't immediate.</p> <p>A financial reverse bucket list won't solve all of your problems, but it certainly might make you feel better about your money situation and help you figure out how to structure your goals so they best suit you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-reverse-bucket-list-to-improve-your-money-management">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-think-like-an-olympian-to-master-your-money">How to Think Like an Olympian to Master Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-finances-back-on-track-after-losing-everything">How to Get Your Finances Back on Track After Losing Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance General Tips accomplishments advice goals inspiration motivation positive thinking psychology reverse bucket list Wed, 14 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1792247 at http://www.wisebread.com This Creative Shopping Strategy Could Save You Tons http://www.wisebread.com/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_happy_96929491.jpg" alt="Woman using creative shopping strategy to save her tons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We see something we really like. We buy it. We use it (or don't). We move on.</p> <p>For most of us, this is how shopping works. But what if there was a step that could change the way we all shop? What if you see something you like, but put it back and keep a running total of your &quot;non-purchases?&quot; Could this technique be the path to saving money, and feeling happy?</p> <p>Let's examine it more closely.</p> <h2>Keep a Running List of Things You Wanted to Buy, But Didn't</h2> <p>It's a technique developed by <a href="http://www.swiss-miss.com/2016/08/things-i-didnt-buy.html">Tina Roth Eisenberg</a> over at <em>Swiss Miss</em>, although it's an idea many people may have had over the years. Instead of just keeping track of your purchases, you also keep track of the things you almost bought, but didn't.</p> <p>It's been described as something of a cathartic technique. We all succumb to impulse purchases, or see deals that we just <em>have</em> to have at that moment. But instead of giving in to those quick decisions, this approach makes you take a step back, think, and reconsider. And most of the time, it ends up being a purchase you decide you don't actually need.</p> <h2>How to Avoid Buying Those Items</h2> <p>First and foremost, you have to approach every purchase with the &quot;want vs. need&quot; mindset. Clearly, as you make a shopping list, you know exactly what you need, from bread and milk, to cleaning products and kitchen utensils. But when you hit the store, you can get sucked in by clearance signs, special offers, and BOGO deals that can really add up.</p> <p>So, before buying anything, look at it and ask &quot;Do I need it, or want it?&quot; Most of the time, you'll know instantly if it's something you really need, or just want because it's on sale, or it's cool, or it's an impulse decision.</p> <p>Get into the habit of taking things out of your basket or cart before reaching the checkout. Look through it, and ask the same question &mdash; &quot;Is this a want, or a need?&quot; Sometimes, the act of putting the item into the cart is enough to satiate your desire for it. Taking it back out again is easier than never putting it in the cart in the first place.</p> <p>When shopping online, go through the same process. Examine your shopping cart, and look at the prices. Is it worth it? Do you need it? Can you easily live without it? Why are you even considering this purchase? Is it retail therapy? If you're buying something just to feel good, think about how that money could be used on something better.</p> <p>Some online retailers, including Amazon, have made it very easy to buy something with just one click. You may find it helpful to remove that Buy It Now option from your account, and instead go through the extra steps to purchasing. This additional time is often all you need to re-evaluate the purchase, and turn it into a &quot;didn't buy.&quot;</p> <h2>How to Track Your Non-Spending</h2> <p>The easiest way to do this is in a spreadsheet, where you can pop in the name of the item, the price, and see a running total that can give you weekly, monthly, and annual totals.</p> <p>Of course, we don't all carry around tablets or laptops that we can whip out in the grocery store, so find simple ways to jot down your non-purchases, including:</p> <ul> <li>A note taking app on your smartphone</li> <li>A small pocketbook/pen that you carry whenever you shop</li> <li>A notepad besides your computer or tablet</li> <li>A voice recorder, or voice recording app</li> </ul> <p>Get into the habit of doing this every time you are about to pull the trigger on an item, but put it back on the shelf, or remove it from your online shopping cart.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso">Start Saving More With This One Simple Tool</a></p> <p>If you want to go the extra mile, put a chart on the wall, perhaps near the garage door or entrance, showing how much you didn't spend on stuff over the weeks and months. That running total can give you an incredible feeling of satisfaction, knowing you saved over $200 in one month by not buying stuff you really didn't need.</p> <h2>Why Does This Work?</h2> <p>Well, there is plenty of evidence online that explains the psychology behind impulse purchases, wanting expensive new things, and believing that stuff equals happiness. However, there is very little out there to suggest why this new technique works. But, after explaining it to a focus group including working moms, stay-at-home parents, Millennials, and people with a lot of disposable income, there seem to be some common threads explaining why this works so well.</p> <h3>1. Instant Gratification</h3> <p>There is something very empowering about seeing money go back into your pocket, instantly. Even though you haven't actually spent that money yet, when you remove it from the cart and add that money to your &quot;didn't buy&quot; running total, you have immediately saved money. You're paying yourself, without actually doing anything with the money.</p> <h3>2. A Sense of Accomplishment</h3> <p>By examining your purchases, and then making a determined effort to remove unnecessary items from the cart, you have exercised willpower. That, in itself, can give anyone a feeling of accomplishment. When you add to that the actual monetary amounts saved by avoiding the purchase, it further compounds the feeling.</p> <h3>3. Visual Stimulation and Encouragement</h3> <p>By charting the purchases you didn't make, and the money saved, you can see at a glance how much extra money you have in your pocket at the end of each week. This kind of visual graphing works well for paying down debt, or adding money into a savings account, and is just as powerful here. Although it's money that was not actually put into savings, or earned, it is still a great way to show your progress.</p> <h3>4. It Exorcises the Shopping Demons</h3> <p>This one came up a lot. By putting the item into your cart, and then removing it, you are doing something close to buying the item. You have considered it. You have, in many cases, touched it and tried it out. You have almost owned it, and felt that ownership. That can be enough to satiate the desire for the product, and putting it back actually gives you a sense of relief. You had it, but you didn't pay for it.</p> <p>So, what are you waiting for? Give this technique a try, and let us know how you get on. What did you save over the week, or month? Did you realize why this specific technique works, or doesn't, for you?</p> <p><em>Can you think of any other similar strategies that will save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-halloween-this-year">Are You Spending Too Much on Halloween This Year?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-get-a-sale-price-match-at-16-popular-stores">Here&#039;s How to Get a Sale Price-Match at 16 Popular Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">21 Times Spending More Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-shopping-reminders-that-will-save-you-big">6 Smart Shopping Reminders That Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buying instant gratification lists psychology saving money spending strategy techniques Fri, 09 Sep 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 1788932 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Let "Lizard Brain" Derail Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green_lizard_grass_19865568.jpg" alt="Preventing lizard brain from derailing your finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to your personal finances, you're in the driver's seat, right?</p> <p>So how come &mdash; sometimes &mdash; that &quot;quick trip&quot; to the mall can end up a daylong spending extravaganza? Why is it that occasionally, the tiny tingle of desire becomes a thunderous nagging, and you're suddenly the proud owner of some shoes (or a car, or a state of the art bit of tech) that you can't really afford? Or why, when the market wobbles, do you cash in your investment chips &mdash; even though you signed up for the long term?</p> <p>Meet your lizard brain.</p> <h2>What Is the Lizard Brain?</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.crystalinks.com/reptilianbrain.html">lizard brain</a> &mdash; which is also known as our reptilian brain or chimp brain &mdash; is the oldest and least evolved part of our human brain. Sitting near the spinal cord, this tiny clump of cells is similar to what you might find between the ears of a lizard (or a fish, for that matter). While the rest of the human brain moved on, this crucial little powerhouse drives our most basic (and primitive) needs. It is what we have to thank for our desires to survive, reproduce, hoard, and dominate.</p> <p>And if it sounds like we don't have a need for such base motivations these days, then think again. The lizard brain is what drives fight or flight &mdash; a crucial physical mechanism at times even today.</p> <p>The problem, really, is that the lizard brain struggles with identifying some of our more modern struggles. And because it developed to save our lives, it is also able to override the more rational and logical areas of the mind. It is hard wired to take control, especially when we feel under pressure, stressed, or emotional.</p> <h2>Feel Compelled to Eat That Pint of Ice Cream? Blame Your Lizard Brain</h2> <p>You might recognize the interventions of the lizard brain in yourself. Think of the times that you are seized by an overwhelming impulse to do something, and it happens so quickly your logical head has not processed the decision. That &quot;heart over head&quot; type of brain hijack is initiated by the lizard brain. Maybe you feel a compulsion to eat the contents of the snack cupboard, have another sneaky drink, spill your juicy gossip, or splurge on something out of your budget. If you know you shouldn't do it, but go ahead anyway (and perhaps later regret it), then that's the lizard brain.</p> <p>The lizard brain is not fundamentally bad. In fact, for millions of years it has done a great job of keeping us alive and out of trouble. But when it comes to your cash, it can be the personal finance saboteur sat right in your own mind.</p> <h2>Personal Finance and the Lizard Brain</h2> <p>There are some ways that your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich?ref=internal">mind can make you rich</a>. And then there are some that can make you substantially poorer.</p> <p>Even those most sophisticated of money minds can suffer. The last economic crises have proved rich fodder for psychologists watching the way the human brains of traders and investors react to sudden changes in the market. Overall, the answer seems to be that they <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/5c528240-c3a7-11e0-8d51-00144feabdc0.html">do not act rationally</a>, preferring short term horizons and certainty, despite investing being a long term game.</p> <p>One reason for this is the pleasure/pain principle. We tend to worry more about the pain of losing money, than we celebrate the success of winning an equivalent amount of money. Therefore stress kicks in at the prospect of losing out, and we allow the lizard brain to take over. A series of knee jerk reactions kicks in, and before you know it, your rational decision making is out of the window.</p> <p>On a more individual level, the lizard brain can cause us to act on impulses without the calming influence of rational thought. So if you have a compulsive spending problem, or get swept along by the moment and find yourself picking up far more at the mall than you intended, then the lizard brain might be to blame.</p> <h2>Reining In Your Lizard Brain</h2> <p>Your lizard brain might not always be your best friend, but it is one of the things that is keeping us alive. Even if we no longer have to dodge passing saber tooth tigers, or high-tail it away from a rampaging mammoth, that fight or flight mechanism gets us out of trouble today, too.</p> <p>But stopping the lizard brain from accidentally getting us into trouble is an ongoing process. Understanding the situations in which we make impulsive financial decisions is a starting point. Simply by noticing the impulse, you have the time to more rationally assess the decision you're about to make. And stopping just a moment &mdash; however brief &mdash; to understand your basic impulses might be enough to prevent you from making a poor decision.</p> <p>You can't live without your lizard brain, so better to start making friends with it. Acknowledging the tendency to act on impulse might be enough to bring it in line and make sure you're not being hijacked by your own little personal finance saboteur.</p> <p><em>What do you think? Does stress cause you to make financial decisions driven by impulse rather than logical assessment? How do you keep your lizard brain in check?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-bad-at-money-and-how-to-fix-it-asap">8 Reasons You&#039;re Bad at Money — And How to Fix It ASAP</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-reverse-bucket-list-to-improve-your-money-management">Create a Reverse Bucket List to Improve Your Money Management</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance fight or flight impulse buys lizard brain overspending psychology self control Splurging Thu, 07 Jul 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Claire Millard 1746054 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Do We Feel Buyer’s Remorse, Anyway? http://www.wisebread.com/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_19096631.jpg" alt="Woman feeling buyer&#039;s remorse and wondering why" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Jackie Lam does just about everything she can to avoid buyer's remorse &mdash; the sinking feeling you sometimes get after making a large purchase, like you've just made a big financial mistake.</p> <p>Lam, the head writer and founder of the frugal living blog Cheapsters.org, calls herself a big fan of taking her time when buying big-ticket items. As she says, &quot;I create as much friction as possible, or barriers to making that purchase, so I can really mull over my decision to make sure it's the right one for me.&quot;</p> <p>But even Lam admits to feeling the occasional twinge of buyer's remorse.</p> <p>The truth is, buyer's remorse might be inevitable. There's an actual science behind it.</p> <h2>Avoidance vs. Approach Motivations</h2> <p>The WhoWhatWear blog last year ran an <a href="http://www.whowhatwear.com/why-we-get-buyers-remorse">interview with Art Markman</a>, a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. He told the site that something called the <em>avoidance motivational system</em> is the tool that helps consumers avoid negative consequences such as accumulating large amounts of credit card debt. Say you see a computer that you really want. Your avoidance motivational system might kick in and prevent you from making that purchase if doing so would result in huge charge on your credit card bill that you can't pay off.</p> <p>Ideally, the avoidance motivational system would encourage you to, say, save up enough money so that you could pay off that credit card charge in full at the end of the month.</p> <p>Markman, though, told WhoWhatWear that there are times when the avoidance motivational system is overwhelmed by a second motivational system, the <em>approach system</em>. This system encourages you to get whatever you think will make you happy at a given moment.</p> <p>When you're out shopping, whether you're looking at big-ticket items such as cars or homes, or smaller items such as clothing or perfume, the approach motivational system will override the avoidance system, causing you to make purchases that maybe don't make financial sense.</p> <p>Then, when you get home with that new laptop or flat-screen TV, you'll start to feel guilty about spending your money. That's because the approach motivational system loses its power after you've made a buy, letting the avoidance motivational system kick back in, stronger than ever. This leads to that awful feeling of buyer's remorse.</p> <p>Linda Jones, chief executive officer of Be Wealthy &amp; Smart, an online business and wealth mentoring company, sums it up this way: &quot;Buyer's remorse is a physical reaction to chemical endorphins released in our body. Studies have shown that shopping gives us a rush in our brain, a high. But it only lasts a short time.&quot;</p> <p>And when that rush disappears? Regret over an unnecessary purchase often kicks in.</p> <p>Jones points to research by Brunel University in the UK saying that shopping is associated with increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is linked to positive thinking and pleasure. The report found that levels of dopamine can rise significantly even if you're just window shopping without planning to buy anything.</p> <h2>Beating Buyer&rsquo;s Remorse</h2> <p>Jones said that the best way to avoid buyer's remorse is to understand this science and to take the steps necessary to beat it. This means making a list of your spending priorities and following it, even when your brain is telling you to overspend on that new outfit.</p> <p>For instance, you might decide that your first priority is to spend on your home, your second on food for the week, and your third for any school supplies or clothing that your kids might need. By keeping these priorities at the top of your spending list, you'll increase your odds of resisting that urge to splurge on a sports car that could bust your budget, Jones said.</p> <p>Others avoid buyer's remorse by going on what Elle Kaplan, founder and chief executive officer of LeXION Capital, calls the all-cash diet: You carry around the amount of cash you've budgeted for the entire week while leaving your credit card at home. This way, even if the chemicals in your brain are telling to you buy something extra, the money in your pocket won't let you.</p> <p>&quot;Buyer's remorse can leave you with more than a regrettable purchase; it can also lead to spiraling debt and bankruptcy,&quot; Kaplan said. &quot;It can be easy to get swept up in the moment and buy that 'must have' big-ticket item while ignoring future consequences.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you stave off buyer's remorse?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-its-hard-to-be-frugal-and-how-to-talk-yourself-into-it-anyway">When it&#039;s hard to be frugal (and how to talk yourself into it anyway)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buyer’s remorse cash must-haves overspending psychology regret Spending Money Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1736374 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_sign_000089846875.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways brain tricks her into spending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We know how <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-shopping-jedi-mind-tricks-and-how-to-spot-them">retailers trick us into spending</a>. Putting more expensive branded goods at eye level in grocery stores. Bombarding us with &quot;too good to be true&quot; deals. Getting to us via our kids through &quot;pester power.&quot;</p> <p>But did you realize your brain is in on the act, too?</p> <p>You might think you're in charge when it comes to your spending, but sometimes your subconscious mind has the steering wheel &mdash; and, boy, does it like to shop.</p> <p>Check out these ways your brain is tricking you into parting with your hard earned cash.</p> <h2>Anchoring Bias</h2> <p>Your subconscious mind steers your conscious thought without you even realizing it. A series of impulses and preconceptions &mdash; known as cognitive biases &mdash; are the culprit. When they're in play, you might feel like you're exercising conscious and logical decision making. But in the cold light of day, your thought processes don't always stand up to scrutiny.</p> <p>Anchoring bias is one such cognitive bias which can have an effect on your spending habits. This subconscious quirk is seen in our tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information we receive. Our brains are wired to pay more attention to the first facts we establish.</p> <p>So if you are researching a potential purchase online, the first product that comes up in a search automatically creates a frame of reference by which you'll measure all the subsequent products you see. Retailers know that, making it smart for them to ensure that the first product that comes up on your search is a sponsored ad for a premium product. By establishing your benchmark high, even if you subsequently trade down for your purchase, you probably spend more than you would have if the very first product you found was a real bargain.</p> <h2>Bandwagon Effect</h2> <p>Marketing teams know that chances are you'll be swayed by what others around you do, say, think &mdash; and buy. In psychology terms, that's the &quot;bandwagon effect,&quot; and that's also why peer marketing and social media are so effective. We are far more likely to trust the advice or opinion of a friend, so if they're backing a product, then it is likely that we are also &mdash; consciously or not &mdash; doing so.</p> <p>The bandwagon effect can also explain why you might get sucked into spending at a level you (and your friends) can't afford. We see, or hear, about what others are spending, and want a part of it, too. Of course, you might register a twinge of jealousy if your best friend talks enthusiastically about the vacation she has just booked or the great new restaurant she just went to. But the same effect is felt on more subtle things, too. Perhaps you never see unbranded food items at your girlfriends' places, or you register without even consciously noticing, that they seem to eat out more. The subconscious takes this all in, and it shifts our assumptions about what is normal, and our perception about the standard of living we &quot;deserve.&quot;</p> <p>This would be fine if we all lived within our means and were honest about the state of our finances. Not so smart when you realize that many of us are out of our financial depths, and we aren't talking half so much about our credit card debt as we are our new shoes.</p> <h2>Survivorship Bias</h2> <p>Back in the cognitive bias camp, this time it is &quot;survivorship bias&quot; that could be doing your savings some damage. Fundamentally this works because our ability to weigh up the probability and effect of something is influenced by the stories we hear. History is always written by the victors, right? The same is true in all aspects of life.</p> <p>This matters because what we hear about influences how we anticipate the outcome of decisions we make. We read about celebrities and entrepreneurs living the high life &mdash; but don't hear half so often about people who blow their financial well being seeking celebrity, or on a doomed entrepreneurial venture. The media loves a good story, and the glamorous lives of the rich and famous are certainly more enticing than our everyday working reality.</p> <p>The message that leaks into the subconscious is that success is easy, even if our logical mind knows that it's hard fought. So we end up biased to believe that anyone who founds a startup (or buys a pneumatic figure) is destined for good things, skewing our perspective and potentially causing us to take gambles with our financial well being.</p> <h2>Salience</h2> <p>The final internal enemy of wealth is <em>salience</em>. This is the way the brain seizes onto the most easily recognizable aspect of an idea or concept.</p> <p>This helps to explain why the neat and flashy packages of ideas sold to us in advertising messages work. Admen keep it simple and digestible. They want us to believe that if we buy a lotto ticket, we will win; if we go out drinking with buddies, we will be popular; and if we hang out at the mall, we will be cool.</p> <p>But here, it is not the super smart advertising executives we need to worry about &mdash; it is actually our own brains. Even if we are fully aware of the negative impacts of excessive gambling, drinking, or shopping, these are far more complex, and so far more ignored by our subconscious brains. And as it's our subconscious who's calling the shots, you can bet that the advertisers' messages aren't lost.</p> <p>Human brains are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">hugely complex and beautiful things</a>. But even when you think you've got yours under control, your subconscious might be lining up your actions long before you've decided on them. It can help to get some perspective &mdash; often we can see the decisions others make with far more clarity than we can our work. Take a step back before making financial decisions, and see if your conscious brain is aligned with the nagging (and often mischievous) subconscious voice.</p> <p>Make friends with your subconscious mind, and you will notice when your brain is tricking you into spending cash you can't afford to splash.</p> <p><em>What is your subconscious spending downfall? Is there something that gets you every time? Share in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway">Why Do We Feel Buyer’s Remorse, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-its-hard-to-be-frugal-and-how-to-talk-yourself-into-it-anyway">When it&#039;s hard to be frugal (and how to talk yourself into it anyway)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-autumn">9 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Autumn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping bias brain tricks keeping up with the joneses psychology Spending Money subconscious Fri, 13 May 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Claire Millard 1707637 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Psychologists Say Saving Boosts Your Mental Health http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-woman-piggy-bank-Dollarphotoclub_73644280.jpg" alt="young woman piggy bank" title="young woman piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that saving consistently can do wonders for our bank accounts, but what about our minds and our moods? As those dollars add up, how do our personalities change? Our outlooks on life? Our stress levels?</p> <p>If your personal savings plan is gaining momentum, I bet you've noticed some unexpected benefits in other areas of life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-factors-what-traits-do-most-savers-share?ref=seealso">What Traits Do Most Savers Share?</a>)</p> <p>Here are seven psychological benefits of saving regularly.</p> <h2>1. Discipline</h2> <p>A healthy bank balance doesn't happen by accident. We live in a virtual wonderland of consumer goods where every taste, inclination, or terrible idea can be indulged with a swipe or a click. Saving means swimming against the tide of stuff and having the discipline to say &quot;no&quot; more often than &quot;yes.&quot; And the wonderful thing is this: When we adopt effective <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-self-discipline-tricks-i-learned-from-the-marathon">self-discipline tricks</a>, the results can help us in nearly every part of life.</p> <h2>2. Peace of Mind</h2> <p>If being in debt or riding the edge of your budget has you stressed, then <a href="http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/message/message.asp?p=Finance&amp;m=122">building a savings cushion</a> should bring you peace of mind, suggests Rutgers University. All savers may not be Zen masters, and there's a lot more to tranquility than a pile of cash, but establishing a healthy financial buffer sure doesn't hurt. Saving is a form of personal insurance and, after all, isn't peace of mind what insurance companies are selling?</p> <h2>3. Confidence</h2> <p>Successful saving builds confidence in at least two important ways. First, it reinforces the fact that you can really achieve something when you set your mind to it. And second, saving provides the capital to get things done when necessary. If that 1979 Bronco finally kicks it, you have the capital to buy a dependable replacement (or at least fund a healthy down payment). If your 30-year old furnace gives you the cold shoulder in the middle of a January blizzard, you don't have to kindle a campfire in the bathtub to stay warm. Isn't having the resources to act the ultimate confidence-builder? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-little-ways-to-feel-more-confident?ref=seealso">17 Little Ways to Feel More Confident</a>)</p> <h2>4. Assertiveness</h2> <p>Having a deeper and more authentic sense of confidence makes people more assertive. With the skills to save and the bank balance to prove it, you can channel healthy assertiveness when the occasion calls for it. Go after that promotion, ask that special someone out on a first date, or simply work toward your next set of personal goals with greater gusto.</p> <h2>5. Optimism</h2> <p>It's easy to be cynical when all your hard work barely floats you from one paycheck to the next. Research shows that saving <em>something</em> &mdash; no matter how small &mdash; can gradually build a sense of optimism. Watching a fledgling bank account grow helps us feel like we're working toward something greater and gives us the traction we need to find new ways to save more and save faster.</p> <h2>6. Compassion</h2> <p>Savers don't have a monopoly on compassion, of course, but saving can give us enough breathing room in our own financial lives to look around and see what others need. Saving regularly affords us the luxury of a clearer perspective &mdash; and that's often the seed of active compassion. It also gives rise to compassionate actions &mdash; such as having the means to donate to good causes or help others when they're in need.</p> <h2>7. Sense of Freedom</h2> <p>A high level of consumer debt is a lot like indentured servitude. Steep interest rates, late fees, the potential damage to credit (and all that can entail) can keep people toiling for years with very little to show for it. Being able to save regularly means you've at least tamed your debt enough to stash some cash &mdash; and cash is often an important part of being free. Spending less and saving more can help us embrace <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-freedoms-you-gain-by-spending-less">important freedoms</a> in our careers, our relationships, and where we choose to live. Without overstating it: If you feel cornered by any aspect of life, explore the transformative power of amassing some capital and then use it to launch yourself in a new direction.</p> <p>Sure, it might not be the cure for everything that ails you, but there are some very real psychological benefits to establishing and maintaining a savings routine. In fact, saving and frugality can be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/men-why-frugal-is-sexy">downright sexy</a>. So, as you watch that bank balance grow, consider what other parts of your life are blossoming too.</p> <p><em>Do you save regularly? How has it improved your frame of mind and your sense of self? Share your story below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people">7 Habits of Highly Frugal People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-or-almost-tools-and-resources-for-creating-a-new-2015-budget">10 Free (or Almost!) Tools and Resources for Creating a New 2015 Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-nfls-5-most-frugal-players">The NFL&#039;s 5 Most Frugal Players</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting confidence psychology saving security Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:00:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 1267802 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-concentrating-493206093-small_0.jpg" alt="mind power" title="mind power" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Brain Hacking, also known as &quot;mind hacking&quot; has become increasingly popular over the last few years. According to <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/mindhacks">Squidoo</a>, mind hacking is &quot;to perform some act that gains access to the fundamental mechanism behind your mind and other people's minds by here-to-fore unknown or apparently mystical means.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>Other people see it simply as &quot;mind over mind over matter,&quot; which basically comes down to self-control using techniques that allow you to tap into your mind's seemingly unlimited potential. Now, with these 12 quick and easy brain hacks, you can unlock some of that latent ability and surprise yourself, and your friends and colleagues. And maybe even some new dates.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Smell&quot; Yourself More Attractive</h2> <p>Right now, you can make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex just by <em>thinking</em> one thought over and over in your head. That thought is, &quot;hey, I really smell terrific,&quot; or some variation of it. Researchers at the University of Liverpool conducted tests on men, seeing how they felt about themselves <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19134127">after spraying on deodorants</a> that contained powerful ingredients. However, half of the men got spray that contained no such magic ingredients. The results were the same. By believing they smelled great to the opposite sex, the opposite sex found them more attractive.</p> <h2>2. Reduce Your Pain&hellip;With Binoculars</h2> <p>&quot;Pain is all in the mind.&quot; How many times have you heard that and thought &quot;yeah, right!&quot; If you slice your finger cutting vegetables, or whack your little toe on the corner of the nightstand, it's not so easy to convince yourself it doesn't hurt.</p> <p>However, researchers at Oxford University found a non-medicinal way to make the pain shrink &mdash; <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2008/11/26/distorting-the-body-image-affects-perception-of-pain/">they used inverted binoculars.</a> When subjects looked at their wound through the wrong end, it made the wound <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982208012591">seem a lot smaller</a>, and in turn they felt less pain. It sounds nuts, but it's true. The upshot of this is when you get pain, you have to imagine that pain being much smaller; or simply look away. Focusing on your wound will bring you increased pain.</p> <h2>3. Organize Using Your Imagination</h2> <p>Cleaning. 99% of us really don't like doing it. Whether it's a messy room, a desk at work, or the cluttered basement, the task always seems overwhelming. But there is a very quick brain hack you can do to make that task much easier.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8__3JATQIM">Watch how PJ Eby</a> uses this trick on a messy desk.</p> <p>First, you look at your desk and take in the whole situation. Look at the mess, the chaos, and the disorder. Then, close your eyes and visualize that desk as clean and organized. Next, you need to feel good about what you visualized. Feel relaxed about the desk. Feel proud. Finally, hold that feeling, and the clean desk image, in your mind. Let it wash over you. You should almost be seeing in x-ray vision, looking through the clutter to the clean space.</p> <p>What you have done is kick-start your brain's automatic planning system. By comparing the two images, you are automatically going to see places for things to go, and what to do with them. It's something that takes less than a minute, but can save you hours of frustration.</p> <h2>4. Improve Your Memory With a Mind Palace</h2> <p>If you're a fan of the BBC show <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004132HZS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004132HZS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YGHVABWLWBVIJGLG">Sherlock</a>, you will be all too familiar with the mind palace. However, you don't need to be an egomaniacal genius to make your own. It's a technique that dates back to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci">ancient Rome and Greece,</a> and it's a simple but effective way to store and recall a lot of information.</p> <p>First, you create a layout of a building or town in your brain. It should be composed of memorable places and signs. For instance, you create a shopping mall, and the first store on your right is a jewelers, followed by a burger stand and then a gym. Now, you place items you want to remember inside the different stores. Once inside each store, there will be a similar approach to the layout, with different sections, and shelves. And the key is to always use very distinct and bizarre combinations together, such as the title of this memory book &mdash; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159420229X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=159420229X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JCLEYWNUGPXF3BFF">Moonwalking With Einstein</a>. You can very easily walk through your palace whenever you want, and pluck items from the shelves with ease. Try it. This <a href="http://discovermagazine.com/2011/jul-aug/14-how-i-became-a-master-of-memory">journalist</a> did, and look how it worked for him.</p> <h2>5. Use Your Eyebrows to Become More Creative</h2> <p>If you ever want to feel more creative, try raising your eyebrows and widening your eyes. This simple technique appears to act as a boost for your creative mind, literally broadening the scope of your ideas as your widen your eyes and take more in. This is all backed by scientific research that was published in the Creativity Research Journal. Two groups of people were asked to come up with captions for a seemingly mundane image. Those with <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/ayelet.fishbach/research/paper_creativity%20research%20journal.pdf">raised eyebrows had much more creative and funny captions</a>. Try it for yourself at home and see how it works with your family.</p> <h2>6. Write Stuff Down to Remember It</h2> <p>This does not mean, &quot;type stuff down.&quot; No, you will have to go back to that archaic form of communication that uses a pen and a piece of paper. Or better yet, keep a little notepad and small pen or pencil on you as often as you can.</p> <p>An experiment conducted at Indiana University proved that the physical act of <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518?mg=reno64-wsj&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518.html">writing something down stimulated parts of the brain</a> that were not active when simply trying to remember something, or typing it into a computer. Perhaps it is the fact that your hand is hardwired to certain parts of the brain, and as you write you are pressing the words or images more deeply into your memory than the simple act of trying to remember. Whatever the reason, it works. Write it down, you'll remember it.</p> <h2>7. Avoid &quot;Choking&quot; By Singing</h2> <p>This is not the literal lack of breath, but rather falling victim to severe nerves and messing up something seemingly simple. It happens in sports a lot, but it can also happen to us if we have to give a presentation at work, or perhaps give a speech at a wedding.</p> <p>Choking is the result of pressure getting to us, usually because our brain is working overtime on all the &quot;what ifs&quot; and worst case scenarios. The way to beat it is fairly simple; do something to keep your brain occupied. Research shows that singing to yourself gives your brain <a href="http://www.wired.com/2010/09/the-tight-collar-the-new-science-of-choking/all/1">something to do instead of stressing out</a>. By singing, you are holding your brain hostage to a task you have given it, and it cannot concentrate on all the disasters you think are going to happen. Sing until it's your time to do something, be it sinking a long putt, giving a speech, or bowling a strike for a perfect game.</p> <h2>8. Stop Stress by Laughing &mdash; Seriously</h2> <p>Fans of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005YVP366/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005YVP366&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=X5TRTSMFUMLPQHWB">The Office (UK)</a> will remember the painfully awkward scene with David Brent laughing as a motivational speaker. (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXytRC0k-K8">If not, refresh your memory here.</a>)</p> <p>Although it was done poorly to showcase Brent's delusions, it's actually a great way to <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456">relieve stress</a> and think more creatively. Laughter releases dopamine, and even if you feel dumb doing it, you will eventually reap the rewards. Of course, these days we all have an instant home entertainment system in our pocket. Just pull out your smart phone, Google a funny video (perhaps something you know has made you cry with laughter in the past) and spend two minutes putting a smile on your face. Your shoulders will lift, you will feel better, and you will think more clearly. Try it out.</p> <p><em>Any other quick mind hacks you'd like to share? Please do so in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development brain hacks mind hacks mind tricks psychology Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 1193088 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Mind Can Make You Rich http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/french photo.jpg" alt="Le baiser de l&#039;hôtel de ville" title="Le baiser de l&#039;hôtel de ville" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was in my early 20s, I had a lovely photograph of a solitary woman hanging in my bedroom. My mother suggested that I switch it out for a picture of a couple. According to a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/knowmore-tv/bedroom-feng-shui_b_4784380.html">theory of Feng Shui</a> that she had read, the way you decorate your home reflects your intentions &mdash; so if you have artwork depicting loneliness in your bedroom, then you're more likely to be unlucky in love.</p> <p>I rolled my eyes at my mom &mdash; but I switched out the picture of the woman for a poster of Robert Doisneau's famous photograph <a href="http://visualthirst.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/the-story-of-the-most-famous-kiss-le-baiser-de-lhotel-de-ville-the-kiss-by-robert-doisneau/">Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville</a>, which I had previously displayed in my living room.</p> <p>A few months after making the switch, I met the man who is now my husband.</p> <p>While proponents of Feng Shui, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_attraction_%28New_Thought%29">law of attraction</a>, and other somewhat off-the-wall theories about cause and effect would claim that the universe responded to my decorating change, science offers an even more intriguing possibility: <a href="https://machineslikeus.com/news/understanding-unconscious-priming">priming</a>.</p> <h2>Understanding Priming</h2> <p>Psychologists have discovered that our behavior and thinking can change based upon the context of information that we receive. This phenomenon is known as <em>priming</em>, and it can affect everything from your behavior to your emotions.</p> <p>For instance, researchers have found that simply hearing the words <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/?&amp;fa=main.doiLanding&amp;doi=10.1037/0022-3514.71.2.230">Florida, forgetful, and wrinkle</a> is enough to cause individuals to start walking more slowly, as if they are feeling the effects of aging. In another experiment, researchers have found that individuals holding a hot cup of coffee when talking to another person felt more positive about the conversation. The warmth of the cup translated into a feeling of warmth about the interaction.</p> <h2>Think Yourself Rich</h2> <p>There are various ways to provide your brain with the kind of stimulus that can help to achieve your financial dreams &mdash; just as I reached my romantic dream. Here are four things you can do to help put your mind to work for you.</p> <h2>1. Visualize Doing It</h2> <p>Athletes have understood the importance of active visualization for some time. They will often spend hours thinking about what it will look like, sound like, and feel like to stick the landing, sink the shot, or hit the ball.</p> <p>In a recent study at the University of Chicago, three groups of participants were asked to make as many free throws as they could. Then, the first group was asked to practice free throws for an hour every day, the second group was asked to visualize making free throws every day, and the third group did nothing. A month later, the first group had improved by 24%. The second group had improved by an impressive 23% <a href="http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/mental/visualization.html">without setting foot on a basketball court</a>. The control group had made no improvement. Clearly, visualizing an activity can help you improve your performance.</p> <p>It's important to clarify that visualizing is very different from creating <em>a vision board</em>. That's because vision boards can actually be detrimental to your goals. Studies that ask participants to envision good outcomes (such as getting an A on an exam or winning a tennis match) have found that the <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-blame-game/201205/throw-away-your-vision-board-0">participants do worse on their exam or match</a> if they have visualized the positive outcome. That's because those types of visions skip over the hard work (and those visualizers do study and practice less), and jumps right to the feel-good ending. This is clearly not helpful.</p> <p>The difference between the type of visualizing that athletes do and the vision boards is action. Athletic visualization is very active and involves multiple senses. Imagining winning the gold or cutting out pictures of the things you'd like to own someday is much more passive and dreamy.</p> <p>If you want to visualize yourself rich, spend your visualization time thinking through how you will handle various financial situations, from salary negotiation to saying no to pressures to spend money. Priming your brain for these situations ahead of time will do much more for your ability to get rich than gluing a picture of a yacht to a piece of poster board.</p> <h2>2. Appreciate What You Have</h2> <p>If you want to use your mind to make yourself rich, take a moment to truly <a href="http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/">look at all that you have with new eyes</a>. Isn't it incredible that you can speak to people the world over, learn almost anything about almost any subject, and look at pictures of grumpy cats using a device no bigger than a deck of cards? We really are living in an exciting time and there is an incredible bounty available to us.</p> <p>Reminding yourself of the abundance in your life allows you to step out of the &quot;consume consume consume&quot; culture that we live in and recognize that you can feel rich with what you already have. While this thought experiment will not necessarily add dollars to your bank account, it will leave you feeling richer and more satisfied with your life &mdash; and isn't that the point of wealth?</p> <h2>3. Give Money Away</h2> <p>In his book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QFBXHI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000QFBXHI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZTMUQEI7WVBWYUMD">More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny</a>, Dave Ramsey talks about the difference between having an open hand or a closed fist:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">I see the closed fist often in the area of money: a fist full of dollars tightly held so that those precious dollars never get away. That closed fist represents someone who doesn't know how to give. They think if they clutch those dollars tight enough, never giving, that they are on the path to more than enough. The real world will teach you that the opposite is true: those with more than enough got there by giving.</p> <p>All of this sounds a little woo-woo, but there is something to Ramsey's analogy. Specifically, individuals who are close-fisted with their money tend to have very negative money scripts &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-did-your-parents-really-teach-you-about-money-it-might-surprise-you">unconscious beliefs about money created in childhood</a>. If you feel that you must hold tightly to your money, you probably believe things like there will never be enough money or the amount of money you have reflects on who you are as a person.</p> <p>One solution to dealing with these money scripts is to get in the habit of giving money away. If you change your attitude about money from something that you must tightly hold to something that flows through your life, then you are in a better position to see and accept wealth-generating opportunities when they arise.</p> <h2>4. Repeat Positive Affirmations</h2> <p>Stuart Smalley was onto something when he repeatedly told himself, &quot;<a href="http://youtu.be/-DIETlxquzY">I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me</a>!&quot;</p> <p>As it turns out, positive affirmations can really help prime your brain to make significant changes. That's because <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-wise-open-mind/201108/5-steps-make-affirmations-work-you">your mind does not know the difference between reality and fantasy</a>. This is why your heart races while watching a horror movie &mdash; your mind is empathizing with the characters on the screen even though you know intellectually that they are not real.</p> <p>So if you tell yourself over and over &quot;<a href="http://www.loveorabove.com/blog/wealth-affirmations/">I welcome wealth into my life</a> and I love the positive energy that money brings to me,&quot; then your mind will fall in line with the belief system you are stating. Repeat your affirmations out loud three times a day for five minutes. And be like Stuart &mdash; look at yourself in the mirror while you're doing it.</p> <p>If you find yourself rolling your eyes when you state your affirmations, however, you might see no results from this new habit. That's because we all already have affirmations in our heads, and many of them are very negative. You might be trying to reprogram your mind by stating a positive affirmation, but the negative voice inside is undermining it by whispering something like, This is stupid. You will always struggle with money.&quot;</p> <p>If you do have a negative reaction to affirmations, it's a good idea to examine exactly what that inner voice is saying and poke holes in the negative message. Don't let your negative affirmation get in the way of your wealth.</p> <h2>Harness the Power of Your Brain</h2> <p>The human mind is an incredible machine. It helps to create the reality you live in, and you can give it gentle nudges toward the goals you want. If you visualize, appreciate, give, and affirm, your brain will help to bring you closer to the lifestyle you deserve.</p> <p><em>Have you used the power of your brain to build wealth &mdash; or sink more putts? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-be-more-attractive-work-these-5-magic-words-and-phrases-into-your-vocabulary">Want to Be More Attractive? Work These 5 Magic Words (and Phrases) Into Your Vocabulary</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier">5 Ways Good Manners Make You Wealthier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-truths-the-rich-live-by-and-you-should-too">5 Money Truths the Rich Live By (and You Should Too)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-feel-more-attractive-without-actually-changing-how-you-look">12 Ways to Feel More Attractive Without Actually Changing How You Look</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development affirmation behavior confidence psychology wealth Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1191315 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/good-resturant-service-135702380-small.jpg" alt="good restaurant service" title="good restaurant service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, my favorite spot was a little place called The Blue Danube, familiarly known as &quot;The Dube.&quot; In addition to the usual inexpensive bar fare, the menu there offered the <a href="http://imgur.com/fDIrmSR">Dube Dinner Deluxe</a> which paired a bottle of Dom Perignon with a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches (made with Roquefort cheese) at a cost of $185.</p> <p>Though I always regarded the Dube Dinner Deluxe as more of a joke than anything else, I've since come to realize that including it on the menu was a savvy marketing strategy on the part of the bar's owners.</p> <p>Due to a cognitive bias known as <a href="http://moneyning.com/money-beliefs/how-anchoring-in-behavioral-economics-explains-your-irrational-money-choices/">anchoring</a>, diners are more likely to buy mid-priced items when the menu highlights a very expensive meal. Just the existence of a high-priced item is enough to make the other prices on the menu seem reasonable in comparison. &quot;Menu engineers&quot; (and yes, that's a real profession) actually describe these very high priced items as &quot;<a href="http://youtu.be/aZ_G2gQr8Uw">decoys</a>,&quot; since they're only there to soften the sticker shock of other offerings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-overpriced-restaurant-items-that-waste-your-money?ref=seealso">13 Overpriced Restaurant Items</a>)</p> <p>As it turns out, restaurants have a pretty good handle on behavioral psychology &mdash; which is why you often end up leaving with a fuller belly and a lighter wallet than you intended. Here are 12 of the sneakiest tricks that restaurants use to get you spend more.</p> <h2>Menu Presentation</h2> <p>A well-designed menu is the single greatest asset for a restaurant's bottom line, as it can help to steer customers to the items the restaurant most wants to sell. That's why you'll find nearly all restaurants have many or all of the following features on their menus.</p> <h3>1. Visual Highlights</h3> <p>If you have ever wondered why some menu items are placed in a text box or otherwise bolded, it's because the restaurant wants to draw your attention to the item. Often, the boxed-off menu item is something that is a major profit-maker for the restaurant &mdash; like chicken wings, for example. Wings cost the restaurant pennies, so the more they sell, the more they profit.</p> <p>In addition, menu designers recognize that most people's eyes are drawn to the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/21/menus-cunning-marketing-ploys?guni=Article:in%20body%20link">top right-hand corner</a>, so that is where the big money-maker dishes are often placed. You may have noticed this if you've ever searched in vain for a simple burger on a menu. Burgers and sandwiches and the like don't tend be super profitable in some restaurants, so they are often confined to &quot;menu Siberia,&quot; where you'll have to read through the pricier items before finding them.</p> <p>Finally, photographs of food tend to be powerful motivators, which is why restaurants will place photographs of only some of their menu items. The ones appearing in photographs are the most profitable dishes.</p> <p>Even in high-end restaurants, where photos on the menu are considered a little déclassé, you will often find line drawings or other visual representations of the big money makers.</p> <h3>2. Offering Two Portion Sizes</h3> <p>I often order salads when I dine out, and I have noticed that salads are usually offered in two sizes. This practice is called &quot;bracketing,&quot; and it's a no-win for the customer. Most customers will order the smaller/cheaper portion, thinking that the lower price is a better deal. But the menu does not specify how much smaller the cheaper portion will be, and in general the restaurant is actually hoping you'll buy the smaller size. If you do splurge on the larger salad, often the size difference will be made up in inexpensive lettuce.</p> <h3>3. Feeling Like Family</h3> <p>Diners tend to like seeing the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/dining/23menus.html?pagewanted=all">names of mothers, grandmothers, uncles, and other relatives</a> on their menus. That's why you'll see something listed as &quot;Bubbie's Chicken Soup&quot; or &quot;Uncle Doug's Famous Burgers&quot; rather than simply chicken noodle soup or &frac14; pound burgers.</p> <h3>4. Brand Name Recognition</h3> <p>Going along with that, menu designers have discovered that using <a href="http://www.foodpsychology.cornell.edu/pdf/pre-prints/descriptivemenulabels-2001.pdf">brand names helps boost sales</a>. For instance, T.G.I. Friday's offers Jack Daniel's sauce, and many restaurants make sure to specify that their juice is from Minute Maid. The name recognition is enough to help sell the food.</p> <h3>5. Descriptive Language</h3> <p>A study by Cornell University revealed that foods described in a more flowery or beautiful way were more appealing and popular with diners than the same items presented more plainly. For instance, the study would either label a dessert as &quot;New York Style Cheesecake with Godiva Chocolate Sauce&quot; or simply as &quot;Cheesecake.&quot; The results showed that diners chose the more descriptive menu items <a href="http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/summaries/sales_labels">27% more often</a> than the more plainly labeled items.</p> <p>Restaurants will often use this effect to highlight a profitable dish &mdash; while using much plainer description on a less profitable menu item placed nearby.</p> <h3>6. Price Shenanigans</h3> <p>One of the things you won't find in almost any menu, from a formal foodie haven down to Mom's Diner, is a dollar sign. Omitting the symbol from the price seems to be enough to spur diners to spend significantly more, according to another Cornell study.</p> <p>In addition, you'll notice something funny about the numbers on menus. You will rarely see any prices ending in a 9. For instance, a dessert will be listed as $4.95 <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/party-like-its-1999-the-psychology-of-pricing">rather than $4.99</a>. Apparently, numbers ending in 5 seem &quot;friendlier,&quot; while numbers ending with 9 connote value, but not necessarily quality.</p> <p>Many restaurants will leave off the cents entirely, listing their dishes as a clean and simple number. All of these gambits make prices abstract, which makes spending feel less threatening and painful.</p> <h3>7. Price Placement</h3> <p>Many menus will avoid listing prices in a column, since that will make it much simpler to compare prices between meals. Instead, many restaurants will bury each item's price beneath the description.</p> <p>Even if prices are listed across from the dishes, restaurants generally do not print leader dots between the dish name and the price. It's harder to scan across to the price without those dots, meaning you're more likely to focus on the dish.</p> <h2>Service</h2> <p>The menu is not the only way restaurants try to manipulate your spending. Your friendly server is also in on it.</p> <h3>8. Introducing Themselves by Name</h3> <p>When your server introduces himself as Todd and claims he'll be &quot;taking care of you this evening,&quot; he's not just being friendly. Studies have shown that <a href="http://drjaydill.com/PSY500/Garrity-Degelman_1990.pdf">restaurant tipping is higher when servers introduce themselves</a> because the interaction feels more personal.</p> <h3>9. Upselling</h3> <p>Servers are trained to ask you if you'd like to add to your meal during every step of the ordering process. For instance, when you order a cocktail, your server might offer you a choice of brands of liquor &mdash; letting you know that the restaurant carries both Bombay and Beefeaters gin, for instance. What the server does not tell you is that there is also a perfectly good and inexpensive gin that the bartender would have used had you not specified either Bombay or Beefeaters.</p> <h3>10. Listing Specials Verbally</h3> <p>In addition to upselling, servers are also trained to rattle off the day's specials &mdash; from the appetizers to the soups to the entrees to the desserts &mdash; off the top of their heads. This practice provides you with a mouth watering description of the foods that the restaurant is hoping to sell, but it does not give you the price point for each special. Many diners are too embarrassed to ask about the prices of specials, meaning they are surprised when the bill comes.</p> <h3>11. Beverage Timing</h3> <p>You've probably noticed that good servers get your beverage from the bar very quickly after you place your order. That's partially because if the timing is right, you'll run out of your drink either before your entrée arrives or in the middle of your meal &mdash; which will often mean you ask for a refill. If you're drinking a bottle of wine, you might find that your server is Johnny-on-the-spot with refills, since you might be persuaded to purchase another bottle if the first one is empty before your plate is.</p> <h3>12. The Midas Touch</h3> <p>Waitresses in particular are known for being very friendly and even lightly touching diners on the shoulder or hand. That's partially because studies have shown that both men and women tend to tip significantly more when their waitresses touch them in a friendly way. Researchers have dubbed this the <a href="http://psp.sagepub.com/content/10/4/512.abstract">Midas Touch</a>.</p> <p>This Midas Touch <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/work-matters/201005/women-have-the-midas-touch-not-men">does not extend to male servers</a>, however. Diners are more likely to see that kind of touch as creepy rather than friendly or nurturing when it comes from a waiter rather than a waitress.</p> <h2>Limiting Your Restaurant Spending</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the restaurants hold most of the cards when you decide to treat yourself to a meal out. Since you are there to enjoy yourself, it can be very difficult to attempt to counteract the psychological tricks since doing so will likely negatively affect your enjoyment.</p> <p>The best way to deal with these issues is to plan ahead. Bring cash so you cannot spend more than you brought. Check out the menu online and decide what you will order before you arrive. Make sure you ask questions of your server if you're not sure of prices or options. And plan to savor your food and drink, since it will help you be more satisfied and lessen the possibility of over-ordering and overeating.</p> <p><em>Have you noticed any other tricks of the restaurant trade? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants">The World&#039;s Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping dining out psychology restaurants spending tricks Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1189022 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-474212989-small.jpg" alt="garden" title="garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We tend to think of our personalities as pretty set in stone. If you have always been short-tempered or shy or change-averse, you may think that it's simply who you are. Yes, you might be able to work hard over years to chip away at the aspects of your personality that you'd like to change, but overall, what you see it what you get. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>But it turns out that your mind is much more like clay than marble. With the right brain hacks, you can make real and lasting changes to just about any aspect of yourself &mdash; without feeling like you are fighting a war with your true nature.</p> <p>Here are four brain hacks that can help you to become the best version of yourself.</p> <h2>1. Become More Generous by Spending Time in a Beautiful Garden</h2> <p>It has been well established that spending time in nature is both calming and mentally restorative. However, recent studies out of the University of California and the University of Southern California have determined that subjects who spend time in natural places that they find beautiful increase what's known as &quot;<a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-neighborhood/201312/generous-nature">prosocial tendencies</a>.&quot; Basically, after spending time in a beautiful spot, subjects show more agreeableness, empathy, generosity, trust, and helping behavior.</p> <p>What is interesting about these studies is that they show how important it is for the subject to perceive their surroundings as <em>beautiful</em> in order to experience the generosity increase. It's not enough to be outside in nature &mdash; you must also appreciate the beauty of the nature you see.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>If you have a garden, now is the time to spend some time in it. Not only will working in your garden give you a sense of satisfaction (and a <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/experts/allinyourmind/4-mental-health-benefits-gardening">reduction of the stress hormone cortisol</a>), but making your own little patch of nature look more beautiful will also help to improve your relationships and increase your empathetic and generous behavior.</p> <p>If you don't have a garden to tend, regularly make plans to head outside for a walk through a beautiful spot. Bring a grumpy friend and help hack his brain, too.</p> <h2>2. Prime Your Brain for Improvement With the Right Words</h2> <p>The language that you use to talk to yourself actually has an effect on your brain. That's because your brain retains the memory of the words you say, even if you don't think that you recall them. Adam Dachis of Lifehacker explains it this way:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">If you were to say the word <em>mustard</em> out loud, and then you were to see a portion of the word later, <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5747213/how-to-hack-your-brain">you'd be reminded of mustard</a>. For example, if you were to say, 'I must have this,' you might be reminded of mustard because of the word must. If you were hungry and liked mustard, you may even want some.</p> <p>This is because your mind has been primed to think about mustard. Your brain retains the memory of you saying the word out loud, and so it gives you a kind of a neural shortcut to get back to the word that clearly must be important because you said it out loud.</p> <p>Advertisers have been using <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology)">priming</a> for years, but you can also use it to hack your brain to be happier, more ambitious, or more outgoing. All you have to do is create the right list of words to say out loud.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>Create a list of words that you associate with whatever feeling you are trying to evoke in yourself. For instance, if you are trying to encourage yourself to become more outgoing, you might come up with this list of words:</p> <ul> <li>friendly</li> <li>eager</li> <li>talk</li> <li>enthusiasm</li> <li>go</li> <li>yes</li> <li>smile</li> <li>people</li> <li>fun</li> <li>interest</li> </ul> <p>After reading this list aloud, you will find yourself in a more outgoing mindset. Reading the list will help to focus your thoughts and prime your brain to react in an outgoing manner throughout your day.</p> <p>While reading this priming list aloud every day is not going to magically transform a wallflower into a social butterfly, it does provide you with the mindset that encourages the behavior you're aiming for.</p> <h2>3. Improve Your Willpower by Becoming a Lefty (or a Righty)</h2> <p>Whether you have trouble passing up the office donut box or you find yourself consistently blowing your top over minor issues, the root cause is the same: a lack of self-control.</p> <p>But before you start beating yourself up, it's important to remember that studies have shown that <a href="https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx">self-control is a limited resource that can be depleted</a>. Basically, willpower is like a muscle &mdash; and it can be exhausted. But it can also be strengthened, just like a muscle.</p> <p>Specifically, allowing yourself to be regularly frustrated can help you to improve your willpower muscle because you become more immune to feelings of frustration. And according to a study from the University of New South Wales, an excellent way to do this is to <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308120028.htm">use your non-dominant hand</a> for two weeks. Aggressive individuals who practiced being a lefty (or a righty, if they were left-handed) for two weeks were able to respond to annoyances more calmly after the experiment.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>If you are concerned about your ability to practice self-control, plan on using your non-dominant hand for everything (within reason and safety concerns) for two weeks. This means that you will be fighting your habitual tendencies for two weeks straight. While it will be difficult to remember to butter your toast with your left hand for two weeks, your capacity for self-control will grow stronger over that time. Afterwards, you will find it easier to pass up that cruller or keep your cool when you get cut off in traffic.</p> <h2>4. Rearrange Your Refrigerator to Eat Healthier</h2> <p>You have every intention of eating better. But it seems like all the fruit you buy just rots in the bottom of the fridge, and you end up snacking on potato chips and onion dip <em>yet again</em>.</p> <p>While it might be simplest to just not buy the junk food that tempts you away from eating right, that's not always feasible. A junk food loving family member or roommate can easily thwart those plans. Instead, make eating healthy easier by rearranging the food in your kitchen.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>Specifically, put your carrot sticks and apple slices front and center in your refrigerator so that they are easier to see and grab. If you put the onion dip in a far corner, you'll make it even easier to avoid, since you're less likely to see it and be tempted by it.</p> <p>This hack comes from Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, the authors of the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014311526X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=014311526X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=L76N3HHV4AEWFCBP">Nudge</a>. They refer to such a change as &quot;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/02/04/5-tricks-to-hack-your-way-to-better-life-habits/">choice architecture</a>.&quot; Basically, if you make it harder to do the unhealthy thing, you're more likely to make the healthy choice.</p> <p>In addition to putting your healthy snacks in a prominent position in the refrigerator, it's also a good idea to prep those healthy foods ahead of time so all you have to do is grab a bag of pre-cut fruit slices when you're hungry. Add that to placing all of the unhealthy foods in as remote a spot as possible in the refrigerator, and it will be easier to eat healthy without thinking about it.</p> <h2>You Can Train Your Brain</h2> <p>Our brains are wired to respond to all kinds of stimuli. If you know how to hack that wiring, you can improve your life without any of that overwhelming, soul-sucking, hard work that's usually required.</p> <p><em>Have you been able to trick yourself into becoming a better person? Do the right thing and share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-be-a-better-happier-person">25 Ways to Be a Better, Happier Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-must-do-mid-year-resolutions-to-get-you-back-on-track">10 Must-Do Mid-Year Resolutions to Get You Back on Track</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development brain hacks psychology self improvement Fri, 20 Jun 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1145232 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons Why It's OK to Eat Meat http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-its-ok-to-eat-meat <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-why-its-ok-to-eat-meat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bbq-453441127.jpg" alt="barbecue" title="barbecue" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days, it seems like meat doesn't have many friends. Vegetarians hate it. Environmentalists rail against it. And your doctor has probably told you to avoid it.</p> <p>But it may be time to come to meat's defense. After all, there is considerable evidence to suggest that lean beef and other meats can be a meaningful part of a balanced diet.</p> <p>No one is suggesting you must eat an 18-ounce Porterhouse for every meal. But you may be surprised to find that meat can be very good for you in ways you never considered.</p> <p>Consider these great benefits of eating meat.</p> <h2>1. It's Packed With Protein</h2> <p>One six ounce steak has about 44 grams of protein, or nearly 90% of the daily recommended intake for an average middle-aged man. That's great for building strong muscles and repairing damaged tissues.</p> <h2>2. It's a Great Source of Iron</h2> <p>If you're feeling tired or lethargic, more meat may be what you need. Most meats, especially beef, have <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html">high amounts of iron</a>, a mineral that helps ensure good oxygen content in the blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the iron in meat can be absorbed two to three times faster than the iron in plants. In fact, the CDC said eating meat can help the body more effectively absorb the iron we get from other foods.</p> <h2>3. It Has Lots of Other Vitamins, Too</h2> <p>Meat is also <a href="http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/beef">a great source of vitamin B12</a>, which is only available from animal products and helps release energy from food. It also contains helpful amounts of vitamin B6, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, and riboflavin, according to the US Department of Agriculture. People who avoid meat have to work extra hard to find these vitamins and minerals in other foods.</p> <h2>4. It Has Fat, but Not All of It's Bad</h2> <p>It's important to know that there are different kinds of fat, and some are more healthful than others. Saturated fat is generally not good for you, but monounsaturated fat &mdash; the kind found in olive oil &mdash; can help boost your HDL (good) cholesterol. And guess what? About <a href="http://www.beefnutrition.org/cmdocs/beefnutrition/fattyacidprofileofbeef.pdf">half of the fat content in beef</a> is monounsaturated. Beef also has a small amount of polyunsaturated fat, including the heart-helpful Omega-3 and Omega-6.</p> <h2>5. It Fills You Up and May Help You Lose Weight</h2> <p>In part because of that great protein, beef takes a while to digest. That's a good thing if you are looking to keep your appetite in check. Beef rates quite <a href="http://www.mendosa.com/satiety.htm">high on the Satiety Index</a>, which scores foods based on how long they can keep a person feeling full. Beef has a score of 176, meaning that it is 76% more satisfying than a similarly sized portion of white bread. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-foods-that-will-keep-you-satisfied-for-longer?ref=seealso">9 Foods That Will Keep You Satisfied Longer</a>)</p> <h2>6. Our Bodies Know What to Do With It</h2> <p>Many health-conscious people have adopted the &quot;Paleolithic&quot; diet, which essentially eliminates any food that we humans didn't eat in the early days of our evolution. The diet is based on the theory that humans haven't really changed much genetically in thousands of years, so it's best to stick with foods we commonly ate during our hunter-gatherer days. That means we're essentially left with meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds. Our bodies, in theory, know exactly how to digest and process these foods.</p> <h2>7. It May Be Good for the Environment</h2> <p>OK, there are many people who will surely disagree with this one. After all, a United Nations report estimated that livestock are responsible for as much as <a href="http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm">18% of all greenhouse gases</a>. But there are some who argue that figure is actually lower, and that livestock can actually be helpful to the ecology when properly raised.</p> <p>In his book, &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603583246/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1603583246&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FZHLR4FWH3UWHF4S">Meat: A Benign Extravagance</a>,&quot; author Simon Fairlie writes that livestock <a href="http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/meat-eating-vs-vegetarian-or-vegan-diets">can play a role </a>in a well-balanced ecosystem.</p> <p>&quot;Livestock provide the biodiversity that trees on their own cannot provide,&quot; he writes. &quot;They are the best means we have of keeping wide areas clear and open to solar energy and wind energy. They harness biomass that would otherwise be inaccessible, and recycle waste that would otherwise be a disposal problem.&quot;</p> <h2>8. It's Great for Your Mental Health</h2> <p>I count grilling out on a summer evening among life's greatest pleasures. And there is at least one study that suggests <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21537054">cookouts can be beneficial to your psyche</a>. A study in Psychology Science said that many &quot;comfort foods&quot; &mdash; such as those found during a typical family cookout &mdash; can play a role in making people feel less lonely. Environmental psychologist Sally Augustin further theorizes that there is an additional <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201105/benefits-barbeques">benefit to being outside</a>, and that the music played at barbecues can improve a person's mental outlook.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite reason to eat more meat? Please share in comments! </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-its-ok-to-eat-meat">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-in-defense-of-food">Book review: In Defense of Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-cold-pressed-juice-may-not-be-all-that">5 Reasons Cold-Pressed Juice May Not Be All That</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-think-youre-a-carnivore">So, You Think You&#039;re a Carnivore?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-less-sugar-with-these-10-simple-tricks">Eat Less Sugar With These 10 Simple Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-ways-to-have-ice-cream-for-breakfast">10 Healthy Ways to Have Ice Cream for Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty dieting Food meat nutrition psychology Mon, 05 May 2014 09:00:15 +0000 Tim Lemke 1137747 at http://www.wisebread.com