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January 23, 2022

How to convince your brain to spend less

Stuck in a rut financially? Just can't seem to save a dime?

When it comes to money, it all about developing good habits, reports David Krueger, author of The Secret Language of Money.

To prove his point, he offers this example of how researchers at the University of Hertfordshire devised a study to get people to break their usual habits.

Each day the subjects chose a different option from poles of contrasting behaviors, e.g., lively/quiet, introvert/extrovert, reactive/proactive, and switched things around. An introverted person, for example, would switch around for an entire day.

Additionally, twice weekly, they had to stretch to behave in a way outside their usual life pattern to eat and read something they would never have otherwise chosen.

The remarkable finding was that after four months, the subjects lost an average of 11 pounds. Six months later, almost all had kept the weight off, and many continued to lose weight.

Requiring people to change routine behaviour makes them actually think about decisions rather than habitually choosing a default mode, Krueger says. This way, they get a chance to reflect on whether that choice was in their best interest.

Once you become aware of how actively making choices can work for you, you can then decide to make the most informed and strategic one possible, he argues.

How do you approach money decisions? By rote or through sustained analysis? Has your behaviour changed over the years?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...