6 Weird Ways to Save

  • 6 Weird Ways to Save

    When Tennessee resident Lila Wilson needed to put some money in the bank, she came up with a creative way to “save” a few dollars. “I collect $1 bills that have ‘L’ or ‘B’ on them, as those are the initials of me and my husband's first names,” she tells MainStreet proudly, explaining that these bills go into her savings account. “It feels like a game of chance when I receive change from a purchase and anxiously look to see if any of the bills have those letters on the front.” Wilson shared the saving strategy with a few girlfriends, who subsequently challenged each other to a see who could save the most dollars in a year. Their game, along with freezing your credit card or snapping a rubber band on your wrist when you think about a mall, are just some of the weird ways people “trick” themselves into saving money. Do these oddball tactics actually work? Photo Credit:  Getty Images
    Buyology 101
  • Buyology 101

    Most of them do not, according to Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies about Why We Buy, who likens our saving innovations to going on a strict financial diet. “They are a desperate attempt to show others or yourself that the spending will not continue,” Lindstrom says. He explains that people typically enforce stringent spending habits after a particularly nasty shopping splurge as a means of punishing themselves. However, he points out, “after the punishment period is over, you find a way to justify not being on a diet anymore” and essentially fall off the wagon. The strategies that do stick, Lindstrom explains, are the ones that don’t use a reward and punishment model and promote a lifestyle change instead. MainStreet takes a look at a few saving schemes that actually can keep your bank account in the black. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Put your credit card on ice.
  • Put your credit card on ice.

    While you don’t need to actually freeze your credit card inside of a block of ice, you should consider leaving it home the next time you visit a shopping mall. Several studies have shown that shoppers are more frivolous when they pull out the plastic. A recent report by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and MIT, for example, indicated that using credit cards “anesthetizes the pain of payment” and makes it easier for people to part with their hard-earned funds. As such, those who want to reduce the chance of a splurge should only carry cash. Want even more guarantee you’ll save? “Only bring $100 bills with you,” Lindstrom says, pointing out “You won’t want to break it to buy a pack of chewing gum.” Photo Credit: mangpages
    Save it for later.
  • Save it for later.

    Lindstrom says you can reduce the amount of pricey purchases you make by refusing to buy anything that costs $50 or more the day that you see it. Scientific research has shown that shopping activates key areas of the brain that release the happiness neurotransmitter dopamine, which, in turn, boosts our mood and makes us feel better. But, Lindstrom explains, the mood swing doesn’t often last past the point of purchase. To escape falling victim to a shopping high, wait two days. If you still feel excited by the product, go back and get it. Photo Credit: See-ming Lee
    Use anti-spending peer pressure.
  • Use anti-spending peer pressure.

    If you know you’re inclined to splurge while shopping, you may want to take a frugal friend with you. You can enlist this buddy to talk you out of potentially frivolous purchases -- or approve sound ones. “It works similar to diet programs such as Weight Watchers,” Lindstrom says. She notes that the program enables dieters to lose weight through peer-to-peer counseling and support. Photo Credit: Mahalie
    Empty the cupboard.
  • Empty the cupboard.

    Those who overspend at the grocery store can benefit by emptying out their cabinets entirely and surveying the goods. According to Lindstrom, you will find you own some products you love, some you use occasionally and others you may never have even opened. “Identity your graveyard area and then cut it off,” Lindstrom says. “The mental exercise will help you buy less crap.” Photo Credit: Abhijittem Bhekar
    Ditch the list.
  • Ditch the list.

    You probably have heard that creating a shopping list can save you a few dollars, a sentiment Lindstrom says was true at one time. But grocery stores have grown hip to the list trick and adjusted their aisles to trick even savvy shoppers into straying. “You have to walk all over to find what you are looking for and, as you go, you pass by all of these things that you may have never seen before,” he says. Lindstrom explains that seeing new products can often trigger the “punishment/reward” model that is so ineffective. Shoppers may “reward” themselves for their healthy habits by buying something that otherwise would not have made it into their cart. Photo Credit: Stephen Cummings
    The Most Debt-Ridden States in America
  • The Most Debt-Ridden States in America

    What states could benefit most from these tips? Find out in MainStreet’s article that breaks down the most debt-ridden states in America!   Photo Credit: Getty Images
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