Saving Money: It’s All in Your Head

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Silly games can equal serious savings. Here are a handful of psychological money tricks that work.

An example of the list from Bargaineering:

Using Cash Only
There’s a reason why casinos use chips to represent money, it’s because chips don’t look like real money. When you swipe your credit card, it doesn’t feel like you’re spending money. When you pull a ten dollar bill out of your pocket, it feels very real.

Likewise, when people are asked to consider an infomercial product (Snuggie anyone?), they’re a lot less likely to think the item is worth the price if they’d have to pay cash. This is why the folks hawking these “limited-time only” offers encourage you to “Call now!” with your credit card, and without taking the time to mull things over.

Another one from Bargaineering:

Buying Generic
Companies spend millions of dollars a year on branding and people seem to enjoy the “better” brands because of it. Back in college, we used to fill our one glass bottle of Skyy Vodka with Vladimir, which came in a plastic jug. Why? Branding. The stuff out of the bottle of Vladimir tasted awful, but somehow when it was poured out of the dark blue bottle it was magically delicious. So why not buy one box of the brand named stuff and simply refill it with generic whenever you’re finished with it?

Or just get over your preference-mental blocks that have nothing to do with taste or quality. In blind taste tests, generics have been proven to be just as good as national brands. But if you have to play some weird label game, do it. Whatever works.

Another silly-but-effective strategy: Send yourself a daily text message reminding you to save. A study testing the theory out showed that people receiving the texts saved more than those who didn’t. I guess the messages just keep the idea to save on the brain, like a Post-It popping up daily in your cell phone.

Ten Bizarre Theories on Saving and Spending