The second approach integrated guided activities that included visualization, creating representations of savings goals using art supplies, recalling memories, and personal nostalgia to assist with emotional activation. It also explored scripts or beliefs about money that the participants had. The study compared two approaches to financial literacy. One was a more traditional approach, which included a slideshow that presented participants with concrete and valuable information about personal finance. It included things like the importance of saving, statistics around the unpreparedness of American households for retirement or emergencies, the power of compound interest, and various ways to save, such as through a savings account, money market account, and certificate of deposit. Those who participated in the psychology-based exercises had more successful outcomes and experienced a 73% increase in their rate of saving, while those who participated in the more traditional approach only reported a 22% increase in their rate of saving.
1. Use your emotions to motivate you to save Here are a few science-backed ways you can change your behavior to save more money.
Emotions have a powerful effect on our behaviors. The 2019 Sentimental Savings Study found that using guided activities that activate emotional responses can improve habits around personal savings. Understanding how you think about money — and shifting that mindset using some simple tricks — can be an effective way set yourself up to succeed when it comes to your personal finance goals.
If you’ve already committed to saving or want to increase the amount you’re saving, then decreasing the negative aspects of saving by doing things like learning to live comfortably within a budget could have a stronger impact. If you give yourself a budget that allows you to meet all your goals, you may start to think differently about your savings. There are apps that can make budgeting more fun or feel like a game, and you can link them directly to your accounts. One of them is Mint, which can split small expenses into categories such as shopping, bills, and transportation. Whether you like to automate your savings or do things manually, there are a variety of budgeting tools that can help. Depending on your starting point, the study says there are different approaches that can be more effective. For example, if you don’t have a desire to save already, then focusing on the benefits of saving by linking it to your values or future goals is a great place to start. This will motivate you to start taking the first steps.
Looking at the big picture or setting goals based on your values can help add an emotional element to the savings process and increase your motivation to take control of your finances. This can be done at home, either alone, in a group, or with a partner. Create set goals using tools like a poster, vision board, or thinking about what it is you’re saving for and imagining what it’s like to achieve it. Maybe that’s owning a home, helping a family member, or taking a big trip. Putting these ideas into practice
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