1. Savings is More Successful when it's Done Automatically.
Research shows that the less effort it takes, the more likely people are to contribute to savings. A classic study from a professor at the University of Chicago showed that having employees automatically enrolled in a 401(k) retirement savings plan almost doubled participation rates. Not saving (by opting out) was what required an effort here — and apparently it was too much work!
Try having automatic transfers from your checking account into a savings account. Have a set amount of cash — even as little as $25 — withdrawn monthly out of your checking account into a credit union's savings account will add up quickly and without any effort on your part.
2. We Spend Less When Using Cash Instead of Credit Cards.
A study by MIT researchers found that people were willing to pay up to twice as much for baseball tickets, for example, when paying with plastic compared with cash. Some researchers have dubbed this phenomenon the "Monopoly money" effect, meaning that because you're not playing with "real" money, spending doesn't feel as consequential.
3 Feeling Blue? Avoid Stores!
Researchers from Harvard and Carnegie Mellon confirmed that people are willing to spend more when they're sad. In the study, people viewed two movies— one a sad movie about a dying father, the other a documentary-style movie about the Great Barrier Reef. The findings: Those who watched the sad film were willing to spend an average of $2.11 for a water bottle, versus the others who paid an average of 56 cents. So avoid shopping and settle for a healthy walk when you are feeling blue!