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5 Simple Tricks for Spending Less Money

Taco Winter

The mind works in mysterious (and expensive) ways, but you can outsmart it with these moneysaving ideas from the experts.

Think Things Through

Farnoosh Torabi, author of Psych Yourself Rich, explained a few mental approaches on Huffington Post. First is to give serious thought to your purchase. Pressured? Rushed? You’ll spend more recklessly. Infomercials are designed to take advantage of this brain quirk.

Examine Your Finances Regularly

Is your budget fine the way it is? So-called status quo bias means you’ll keep paying what you’re paying-cable bills, credit cards-unless you have a compelling reason to change.

Saving Money is Relative

Duke behavioural economist Dan Ariely says we’re bad at making comparisons: We may readily pay $3,000 to upgrade to leather seats in a new $25,000 car because it’s a relatively small percentage of the total price, but we’d think a lot longer about paying $3,000 for a new sofa that we’d sit on every night.

Automate

Ramit Sethi, who runs the website I Will Teach You to Be Rich, gave some tips on increasing willpower (financial and otherwise) to the Bucks blog of the New York Times. Key? Pay bills automatically to avoid late fees. Similarly, channel a portion of your paycheck to your 401(k) and savings accounts.

Will Yourself to Be Happier Outside the Office

“Identify one thing you want to do more of,” Sethi suggests, whether it’s reading the novels of Charles Portis or rowing an hour a day. Add a weekly reminder to your calendar until it’s a part of your routine.

Start Small

If you’re overwhelmed by choices, it’s easy to do nothing. “Instead of trying to save a little bit on everything,” he says, “focus on your two biggest discretionary expenses,” like eating out and drinking, in his case. “Over the next six months, cut each down by 25 to 33 per cent.”

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