Money can frustrate the best of us at times, and often these problems are self-inflicted. According to neuroscientist, Moran Cerf, saving money and having a greater sense of control over your money, comes down to changing your perception of financial timelines.
Think about how often you do the following: get paid, shop for groceries, pay your bills and eat out.
You’re probably thinking in terms of month, week, day—precisely what Cerf explains is making you scattered and ultimately, overspending.
He recommends experimenting with different timescales to figure out what kind of budget system works for you.
For example, let’s say you decide to give yourself a daily allowance. First, you’d add up your fixed costs, leaving you with a certain amount you can spend. Then, you’d figure out how much can be spent each day to avoid going over budget.
So long as you don’t spend more than your daily allowance each day, you won’t go off budget.
The science behind this method is that, as humans, we have a limited amount of mental energy for decision-making. If we can eliminate the need for smaller decisions by making smarter high-level decisions, we can maximize our happiness.
And when it comes to your financial life, the less you worry about money (by making good decisions), the more money you will potentially save and the greater control you will have over your finances.
You might decide a weekly, or monthly allowance works best for you. As long as you don’t spend more than you allocate for your chosen timescale, you won’t find yourself in financial hot water.
Cerf notes this method might not come easy at first. The key is to experiment and find what works for you.
You Are Who Your Friends Are (Financially Speaking)
Another interesting factor in the decision-making process is who you spend time with. Research shows that the brain waves of two different people look nearly identical when those two people are in the presence of one another.
So, if there’s a financial goal you want to reach – like saving up for a vacation or paying off a loan – you’re more likely to achieve it if you spend your time with people who already demonstrate good money habits.
Surrounding yourself with people who embody the traits you wish to possess will help minimize decisions and thus maximize your happiness.
Try out the method we discussed above and see if you can find a financial timescale that fits your budget, needs and goals. Pair that method with the goal of being more intentional about who you spend time with, and you may soon find yourself happily in control of your finances.