Get Past Mental Accounting To Actually Save Money

Get Past Mental Accounting To Actually Save Money

You feel pretty great after saving $US200 on a new laptop. Then again, that money is probably going straight to a restaurant, shoe store or other expenditure. Have a plan in place to defeat your brain’s mushy mental accounting.

MP Dunleavy from the DailyWorth personal finance blog guest-posts on I Will Teach You To Be Rich about the psychology of saving money, and how to make it to the “last mile” of making savings at the store into savings in the bank. There’s a three-step process to it, but also some negotiation you’ll probably need to do with your inner child, who wants to do nothing more than take those spending savings and blow them on chicken fingers.

First, you might argue that you bought the item at a discount because that put it within your price range. You never would have paid full price, so you don’t have extra to save.

Nice try. Studies show that most people have a range in mind when they spend. You got the TV for $US800, but you were probably willing to pay up to $US850.

Dunleavy’s post is a good read, and a great reminder that they call it “savings” for a reason. How have you overcome your own tendencies to reward yourself for saving by, um, spending?

Psychology of Money: How to Save Your Savings [I Will Teach You To Be Rich]


  • I generally will allocate an amount that I’m willing to part with for an item, if that item is cheaper then I will use that as an opportunity to purchase something else I wanted. Not a reward for saving just an opportunity to get something else with the money you considered gone anyway.

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