psychology http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/134/all en-US Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-510572840.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you pay close attention to investment news, it'll either make you laugh or it'll drive you bonkers. Within the same hour, and on the same market news website, you will often see completely contradictory articles. One says the market is headed higher; the next says the market is about to tank.</p> <p>What's a smart investor to do? Be very careful about your information diet.</p> <h2>More Information, Less Success</h2> <p>In the late 1980s, former Harvard psychologist Paul Andreassen conducted an experiment to see how the quantity of market information impacted investor behavior.</p> <p>He divided a group of mock investors into two segments &mdash; investors in companies with stable stock prices, and investors in companies with volatile stock prices. Then he further divided those investors. Half of each group received constant news updates about the companies they invested in, and half received no news.</p> <p>Those who received no news generated better portfolio returns than those who received frequent updates. The implication? The more closely you monitor news about your investments, the more likely you are to make changes to your portfolio &mdash; usually to your detriment.</p> <p>In another study, renowned human behavior researchers Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Richard Thaler, and Alan Schwartz <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/richard.thaler/research/pdf/The%20Effect%20of%20Myopia%20and%20Loss%20Aversion%20on%20Risk%20Taking%20An%20Experimental%20Test.pdf" target="_blank">compared the stock/bond allocations</a> of investors who checked on their investments at least once a month against those who did so just once a year. Those who took in the <em>least</em> information about their portfolios made fewer investment trades and generated higher returns.</p> <h2>When Helping Hurts</h2> <p>One factor at work here is &quot;loss aversion.&quot; First quantified by Kahneman and Tversky, it's the idea that people feel the pain of loss more acutely than the pleasure of gain. The frequent monitoring of investment portfolios brings every downward market move to the attention of investors, who tend to react by moving money into less risky assets (bonds instead of stocks), thereby locking in their losses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a>)</p> <h2>Misinformation Is Not Power</h2> <p>Another factor has to do with the tales told in the investment press. Each day's market performance is reported &mdash; what happened, and <em>why. </em>The first part is factual. The market either went up or down and by a certain amount. The second part is mostly opinion. No one can say with certainty exactly what moved the market. Was it fear over the growth rate of China's economy, a contraction in the oil supply, or that XYZ company missed its quarterly earnings projection by a penny? No one really knows. But that doesn't stop the explanations from flowing across the pages of investment news sites.</p> <p>Late December and early January are especially dangerous times to read market news. That's when market forecasters spin their yarns, undaunted by their previous year's miss or economist John Kenneth Galbraith's scolding that &quot;The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.&quot;</p> <p>We pay attention to such forecasts &mdash; and even worse, we change our portfolios because of such forecasts &mdash; at our peril.</p> <h2>Selective Listening</h2> <p>You can't control the stock market or what is said about it, but there are certain factors you <em>can</em> and <em>should</em> control, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Estimate how much you need to invest each month in order to accomplish your goals;</li> <li>Determine your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>;</li> <li>Choose a trustworthy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio?ref=internal" target="_blank">investment selection process</a>;</li> <li>Add to your portfolio regularly;</li> <li>Expect market turbulence;</li> <li>Be very, very careful about what investment news you take in and how much;</li> <li>Keep moving forward.</li> </ul> <p>Of the many factors involved in successful investing, selective listening may be the most important.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">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-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</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/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</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-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</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/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</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/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds loss aversion misinformation news psychology reactions returns risk stock market Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1904508 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Thing That Will Help You Actually Save Money http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-thing-that-will-help-you-actually-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-thing-that-will-help-you-actually-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525488514.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At least 66 million American adults <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/21/66-million-americans-have-no-emergency-savings.html" target="_blank">don't have anything saved</a> in an emergency fund. Whether you have one or not, that is a whopper of a number!</p> <p>Saving is hard. There are so many legitimate places to spend our money, and so many things we want on top of that. It can be difficult to figure out how to set anything aside, let alone to leave it there when a new need or want pops up on our horizon.</p> <p>Lucky for us, there is one very simple way to help ourselves save more money.</p> <h2>Positive Encouragement</h2> <p>The Rand Corporation recently published a study examining the role of <a href="https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/WR1000/WR1055/RAND_WR1055.pdf" target="_blank">positive encouragement in savings</a>. Study participants were randomly given $50, $100, or $500 just for participating, but they had to put at least a portion of that into savings. They were able to choose the portion, as long as some of the money got saved for the six-month duration of the study.</p> <p>Each saver was assigned one of three different types of savings account: A traditional savings account, earning 30% interest and allowing the participant to withdraw the money at any time; a hard commitment account, also earning 30% interest but disallowing withdrawals; and a soft commitment account, which was the same as the traditional account except that it also included encouraging nudges designed to potentially help participants save.</p> <p>These nudges weren't anything huge. The folks running the study just reminded people why they were saving, helped them see themselves as good savers, and helped them think about how good it would feel to reach their savings goals.</p> <p>In addition to all of this, every participant got an update on their money every month, and they were also asked if they wanted to save more. The results? The folks with the soft commitment accounts were the most successful savers early on, while those with the hard commitment accounts enjoyed the greatest return at the end of the study.</p> <p>That's not the only good news! The people who seemed to benefit most from the encouragement they received were &quot;impatient&quot; people, a group less likely to successfully reach a savings goal.</p> <h2>Encourage Yourself</h2> <p>Since we can't all be part of a study like this, what does it mean for us? Is there a way to apply these ideas so that we can motivate ourselves to start &mdash; and continue &mdash; saving?</p> <h3>1. Find a Goal</h3> <p>Before you can know how it feels to reach a goal, you have to set one. Even if you are saving for something less glamorous, like an emergency fund or a new water heater, set that goal firmly in your mind. It is what you need, and it is the reason you are putting money away.</p> <h3>2. Think About Your Goal</h3> <p>When it comes to financial goals, don't just set it and forget it. Instead, remind yourself of your goal regularly. This can mean writing &quot;Hawaii&quot; on a sticky note and putting it on your bedroom mirror or your computer monitor, or it can mean setting daily reminders on your phone. Do whatever works for you, but make sure your goal comes to mind at least every few days.</p> <h3>3. Feel Good About Your Goal</h3> <p>Positive feelings are important when it comes to feeling encouraged, so don't just analyze your goal, but think about how you will feel when you achieve it, too. If you're saving for a new car, picture yourself driving it to work feeling happy and proud. If you need an emergency fund, imagine yourself feeling safe and secure, even in the face of a medical bill or a massive auto repair.</p> <p>It can help to write these scenarios and feelings down, too. Writing has a way of making things feel more real, of making them tangible. If you struggle to meet your goals, giving yourself a tangible reminder of why you're pursuing your goal can help make it more concrete in your mind.</p> <h3>4. Affirm Yourself</h3> <p>In addition to focusing on your goal, spend some time focusing on yourself, too. Say and write down statements like &quot;I am a good saver,&quot; and &quot;I will reach my financial goals.&quot; You might feel silly, but doing these things will help you come to believe these things about yourself. Saying it once won't make it true, but saying it over and over can help you change what you believe about yourself.</p> <p>Be sure that your statements are all positive. Keep away from statements that include words like &quot;I won't&hellip;&quot; or &quot;I will stop...&quot; These can be harder for our brains to process, and can sometimes backfire. You can turn any statement into a positive one with a couple moments' work, thus avoiding any accidental confusion in your own head.</p> <p>Saving may feel like a gargantuan task for you, but you can get started today. Set aside a little bit of money &mdash; open a new account if you need to! &mdash; and jump in with these positive reminders. You may be able to save more than you think!</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/the-one-thing-that-will-help-you-actually-save-money">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/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master</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-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer">5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer</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/10-ways-for-college-students-to-save-loads-of-money">10 Ways for College Students to Save Loads of Money</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-kinds-of-critics-every-frugal-person-meets">6 Kinds of Critics Every Frugal Person Meets</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-simple-negotiating-trick-puts-money-in-your-pocket">This Simple Negotiating Trick Puts Money in Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living affirmations encouragement goals positive reinforcement psychology saving money Wed, 08 Feb 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1878070 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback" 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_posture_532326842.jpg" alt="Woman learning to cut herself slack for a financial setback" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you fell off your financial wagon. It's particularly easy to do this time of year, though financial mistakes aren't necessarily seasonal.</p> <p>It's easy to beat yourself up over these things, even if you understand why your mistake happened. But what purpose does that serve? Does making yourself feel bad about a mistake actually make it less likely to happen again, or help you fix it?</p> <p>Whether you messed up because you are stressed, going through a difficult time personally, or wanted to give your kids an extra-special Christmas, stop berating yourself. Still prone to indulging your shame and guilt? Here are some good reasons to let it go.</p> <h2>Failure Almost Always Precedes Success</h2> <p>While true overnight success does occasionally happen, it's often more fluke than anything else. True success &mdash; even when it looks like it comes quickly &mdash; usually happens after many rounds of failure. In fact, ultimate success may be more about perseverance than it is about talent.</p> <p>Even well-known people, like Steve Jobs and Bob Dylan, faced setbacks and failures before they became successful. So, rather than being frustrated with yourself, see yourself as normal. Then, when you're ready, get up and try again and again and again until you find a way to meet your goals.</p> <h2>Failure Helps You Become Resilient</h2> <p>Being resilient means that life can knock you down, but you always get back up stronger than before. It means surviving and thriving in a world that often doesn't give you what you need or want. Some people seem to have this characteristic in spades, but the rest of us have to develop it.</p> <p>Failure is one way to become more resilient. As you weather failures, you learn how to deal with them and with yourself. You will learn how to let life's disappointments wash over you, and then how to step out again once they're done.</p> <p>If you've failed financially, whether your fall was spectacular or quiet, remember that each failure makes you a little more resilient, and then determine to get yourself back on your feet, no matter what.</p> <h2>Failure Invites Creativity</h2> <p>When we fail, it means that the solution we used to try to solve whatever problem stands before us didn't work, and so we have to figure something else out and try again. When we do this, we are exercising our creative muscles, because we are coming up with multiple ways to solve the same problem.</p> <p>Look at your financial failure as the problem to be solved. Whether you want to save more, spend less, pay off a debt faster, or something else, failure means that the plan you're currently using is not one that is working for you. So take a deep breath and start brainstorming. Think of other ways to achieve your goals, even if they seem a little crazy right now.</p> <p>Once you have a list of ideas, pick one to try next. For instance, if you struggle to save an emergency fund, consider using an app that saves for you automatically. If you want to spend less on drinks after work, come up with alternate activities to try with your coworkers. Most problems have a solution; you just have to find the one that works best for you.</p> <h2>Failure Teaches Us</h2> <p>If nothing else, failure often teaches us. Not only does it show us what does not work to solve a problem, but it also teaches us about ourselves. Failure can show us our limitations, it can reveal our resiliency, and it can tell us a lot regarding how we feel about ourselves.</p> <p>There is a lot of focus on learning from failure as part of the pathway to success and, while that can definitely be true, learning from failure can also redefine success. Let's say you want to save up enough money for a luxury car. You're diligent about putting away what you can, until Christmas comes around. Then, you see all sorts of awesome gifts you want to give to the people in your life. To buy them, you will have to dip into your savings&hellip; and you do it without a second thought.</p> <p>Sure, you may feel like you failed. After all, you didn't reach your goal. And you may have learned that you need to make your savings less accessible, so you can't dip into them so easily. But you also may have learned that you care more about people than you do about cars, and so you may choose to redefine success from &quot;saving enough for a luxury car&quot; to &quot;having plenty saved to buy luxurious Christmas gifts.&quot;</p> <p>Whatever failure has to teach you, stop beating yourself up and learn it!</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/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">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-a-billionaire-when-you-re-broke">How to Think Like a Billionaire When You’re Broke</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/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</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/the-only-money-advice-youll-actually-listen-to">The Only Money Advice You&#039;ll Actually Listen To</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-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer">5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer</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-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle emotional failures financial mistakes overspending psychology resilient saving money setbacks Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:00:17 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1876849 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_money_maker_532666075.jpg" alt="Kid learning mental habits that make the rich richer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The mind is a powerful thing that should not be underestimated.</p> <p>Many successful people believe that if you can change your thought patterns, you can also change your bank account size. Here are five mental tricks that rich people use to make even more money. Try adopting these thought patterns to see if they work at boosting your income.</p> <h2>1. They Think of Money as a Game</h2> <p>Rich people tend to think of money as a game, calculating where to spend and where to invest. Successful people love to win, which is why they are continually trying to do better, do more, learn more, and grow. The average earner gets in trouble when they become stagnant in their career and finances. If you drag yourself to work each day for just a paycheck to survive, then don't expect much more than that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-retire-rich?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Retire Rich</a>)</p> <h2>2. They Set Big Goals</h2> <p>Rich people are not afraid of setting big, somewhat unrealistic goals because they know they can conquer them. Why are we afraid of setting big goals for ourselves? Is it because we don't believe they can happen? Is it because we know we will hit our financial expectation if we set it low enough?</p> <p>Set big, scary goals for all areas of your life and look at them as a challenge. What if you don't meet those goals? There is always going to be a possibility of setting a huge goal that you never meet, but what if you try and get halfway there? When you set the bar high, you force yourself to grow as a person.</p> <p>For example, you can set two different financial goals this next year. One goal is to save $1,000, and the other to save $20,000. There's a big difference in the two goals, and for some, the latter seems impossible. However, if you set the $20,000 savings goal and then tried your best to achieve it, you are going to surprise yourself. You might not hit the $20,000 mark, but you might hit the $10,000 or even $15,000 mark, which are all so much greater than the low-expectations goal of saving $1,000. Don't be afraid to set big goals for yourself. Shoot for the stars, not the dirt.</p> <h2>3. Fear Is Not an Option</h2> <p>One of the biggest emotions that keeps people from achieving great things is fear. Rich people block out fear and take smart risks. Do they fail? Yes! Every rich and successful person has a list of failures to their name, along with even more accomplishments and achievements. When you are trying to battle your fear, ask yourself, &quot;What is the worst that can happen?&quot; Many times, the worst isn't that bad at all.</p> <h2>4. They Deserve to Be Rich</h2> <p>The rich think that they deserve to be rich. They view themselves as worthy of having money. On the flip side, those stuck in middle class don't feel worthy to be rich. They don't view themselves as anyone important or of value.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 &quot;When You're Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren't That Great</a>)</p> <p>This isn't just some lofty thought to have. Think of your current job position. Can you be replaced easily in your company? If you answered yes, then figure out how you can become a valuable asset to your boss. If your company doesn't want to lose you, they will pay more to keep you. This can apply to almost any position, so don't think you need to go back to school to get a better degree to make this true for you.</p> <h2>5. Money Is Their Friend</h2> <p>Wealthy individuals realize the power that money has, knowing that it can solve problems and make their lives better. Those who earn less view money as the enemy. They work so that they can pay bills, they pay bills so that they can live, and so on. The cycle never ends, and they are miserable.</p> <p>Obviously, money is not the answer to happiness, but those who are smart with their money can leverage their paychecks to make their lives better.</p> <p>These mental tricks aren't magic. Instead, they help rewire your brain to value yourself and your work &mdash; which in turn means you will earn more and spend your money better.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</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-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</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/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</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/4-ways-pessimism-can-actually-improve-your-finances">4 Ways Pessimism Can Actually Improve Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance goals mental tricks outlook paycheck to paycheck psychology rich saving money wealth building wealthy Thu, 29 Dec 2016 10:30:37 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1864425 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-14"> <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/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings">What&#039;s Better: Less Debt or More Savings?</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</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-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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/the-simple-way-to-decide-which-credit-card-to-pay-off-first">The Simple Way to Decide Which Credit Card to Pay Off First</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/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</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-5"> <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/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</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-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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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-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/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/11-smart-ways-to-maximize-desk-space">11 Smart Ways to Maximize Desk Space</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/7-surprising-benefits-of-failure">7 Surprising Benefits of Failure</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/5-ways-to-stop-your-mindless-spending">5 Ways to Stop Your Mindless 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/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-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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback</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-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/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/how-to-think-like-a-billionaire-when-you-re-broke">How to Think Like a Billionaire When You’re Broke</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/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> <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-inspiring-quotes-about-money-from-successful-women">6 Inspiring Quotes About Money From Successful Women</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</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-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 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-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-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/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/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback</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/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them">8 Real Life Calamities That Can Drain Your Finances (Plus How to Defend Against Them)</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/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> </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-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-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/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</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/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</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/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</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-4"> <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/10-ways-to-save-money-when-you-are-unemployed">10 Ways to Save Money When You Are Unemployed</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/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Spending Money</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/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich">4 Ways Your Mind Can Make You Rich</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-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</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> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Powerful%2520Brain%2520Hacks%2520You%2520Can%2520Do%2520in%2520Under%25202%2520Minutes.jpg&amp;description=8%20Powerful%20Brain%20Hacks%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Under%202%20Minutes"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Powerful%20Brain%20Hacks%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Under%202%20Minutes.jpg" alt="8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes" width="250" height="374" /></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-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-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/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</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/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> </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