If there’s one thing most people are serious about, it’s their money. Nobody wants to lose money for no good reason. If you told the average person to grab up handfuls of cash and toss it out the window, he or she would probably assume you were crazy.
Even so, that is what a lot of people do every day with little or no thought. We tend to spend money in ways that we do not readily recognize. While we are fortunate to have various means to help make our money stretch til payday, we still have psychological roadblocks to deal with when it comes to managing our funds.
To help you save some cash, here are two mental money traps that catch people every day – and how you can work around them.
Shop, Shop And Shop
If you’re like most people, you know what it’s like to go grocery shopping. You probably have had those times when you had a mental list of things you need to buy – paper towels, cereal, fixings for a dinner meal and washing detergent. And you know that you usually end up bringing home more items than you needed while spending more than you should have.
Supermarkets are designed so that you notice all sorts of sales and specials, prompting you to buy them almost on sight. There is almost no way that you can navigate the store without seeing an attention-grabbing sign for “buy one, get one free” or a manager’s special for things that you otherwise wouldn’t buy.
One helpful way to resist this is to keep a written list when you go shopping. Having a tangible, visible reminder of what you should get can help you focus on necessities while ruling out extraneous purchases. To make this even more effective, also write down a target amount that you plan to spend – and make it a point to not go over that amount.
You’re shopping online to buy a couple of shirts, and as you get to the checkout page you get a notification. The message tells you that you can also get a necktie that just happens to be on sale at half-price, and the price is only valid if you add it to your cart now.
This is just an example of an up-sell – a method of adding on items at discount to make a bigger sale. At first glance it looks like a great deal. But do you really need that extra item?
Chances are that you don’t, but the price makes it a tempting offer. As a result, you end up spending more for something you may have no use for. To avoid this, ask yourself honestly if you even need it. If not, decline the offer – no matter how nice the price is.
These are two of the most common money traps that coax people out of a lot of money regularly. If you are on a budget, these can make it tough to hold out until payday without help. Stay focused, know how much you need to spend, and you’ll surprise yourself with how much you save.