Habits - Saving Money and Losing Fat
Angelique is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
This NPR story, “Habits: How They Form and How to Break Them” got me thinking about habits that cause us to remain in debt. Based on the book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business” by Charles Duhigg, the article says that the key to figuring out how to break or create a habit is by understanding the queues and the rewards associated with it.
For me, online shopping can be an issue. So I started thinking about the queues and rewards associated with my online shopping splurges.
Looking through my shopping confirmation emails, I realized that:
- “Free Shipping” with to my Amazon Prime account (NASDAQ: AMZN) and offered by vendors on Ebay (NASDAQ: EBAY) are a huge attraction for me.
- Most of my purchases happen late at night when I probably should be sleeping instead.
- Discount sites like ideeli.com and Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) are also a draw for me (although, less so now that I’ve turned off all of the email notifications).
- I tend to go on shopping sprees as a sort of strange reward to myself after paying off a substantial chunk of debt. That seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
- I will go online searching for one thing that I need and buying three more things that I don’t.
- It’s fun to get a package in the mail! It feels like Christmas.
- I’m not a collector of anything and I don’t feel the need to drive a fancy car or have a huge house. But, I love clothes, shoes and costume jewelry. All very easy to shop for online.
- The “I just got a deal” feeling. The free shipping or online discounts makes me feel like I just did something good, rather than having just spent my grocery money for the week.
- No searching for parking, trudging through stores with thousands of other shoppers or trying on clothes in front of “fat mirrors” with florescent lighting.
- “Free” isn’t free on Amazon.com, that “prime” account costs $79 a year. While it does save me money on shipping, especially around Christmas when I’m having a lot of gifts delivered directly, it looks like it’s probably costing me a lot of money in extraneous purchases throughout the year.
- Shopping when I should be sleeping is a mind-numbing way of relaxing, it’s also a bank account draining way of relaxing. I should be using that Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) account for relaxing instead!
- If I’m paying off large chunks of debt and then spending money to reward myself, perhaps I should just pay off larger chunks of debt?
- Christmas will feel more like Christmas when I’m not stressing about how to pay for the gifts I want to buy.
A new “cash diet” habit. I’ve been resisting this one for a while even though I’ve read such great things about it from other bloggers like Jessie Rosen of Lemondrop, David McPherson at ABC News, and this great reader’s story at GetRichSlowly. When something absolutely must be bought online because there’s no other way, then that purchase will come out of the following week’s cash withdrawal.
But the tip of the iceberg for me was this story from The Wall Street Journal describing how people who use credit or debit cards rather than cash also buy more junk food at the grocery store (another spending spot for me). So, using that debit card rather than cash, can also make me fat? Cash it is! As they say, “Cash is King!”
I’m starting my cash diet today and I’ll let you know how it goes. Have you tried the cash diet? How’s it working for you? What are some of your habits that keep you in debt?
Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Amazon.com, eBay and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. TMFHRFool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.