MINDFULNESS CAN SAVE MONEY
Reward centers in the brain activate when people are given something delicious – say wine or chocolate. It’s making them feel good. But if you promise them a delicious item in the future, there’s no reward centre activity. If it’s not in our hands (or mouths), we don’t care.
Money is the rare exception to this rule. It has the unique ability to affect the way we think, feel and behave – even if we don’t have much or are unaware of its influence. Just as most people think they’re better than average at driving, they also think they’re better than average at negotiating a deal, which primes them to get ripped off. Moreover, if patients believe pain relief to be pricey, they tend to respond more to its effects.
There are small changes we can make to have mind over money. When people pay in cash instead of by card, they tend to spend less, because they can see and feel the exchange. Additionally, we’re less likely to pull from our savings if they’re stored in a bank with a name that makes it sound geographically far away. And purchasing while grumpy often primes us to get a better deal.
The most important mind hack, though, may be to spend money in ways that are proven to make us happier, like prioritizing experiences (which create lasting memories) over material goods.