Tag Archives: discretionary spending

Train Your Brain to Spend Smarter: A Chat With BeyondThePurchase.org

A few months ago Linda Lombardi, a writer for the website Learnvest, asked us if she could conduct a Q & A to learn how our research helps people spend and save their money in ways that result in the most happiness. While … Continue reading

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Is the United States materialistic? The geography of consumption.

The belief that material possessions improve individuals’ personal and social well-being permeates America. However, contrary to this belief, multiple studies show that materialists, compared to non-materialists, have lower social and personal well-being. Compulsive and impulsive spending, increased debt, decreased savings, … Continue reading

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What drives us to get our bling on

According to the urban dictionary, the term bling came in to the modern vocabulary in the 1990s, possibly imported from Jamaica by American rappers, and meant to indicate either the imagined play of light bouncing off shiny jewelry, or the sound … Continue reading

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And the poor get poorer: How our life histories shape our response to financial trouble

When “primed” (reminded, made to think about) with threats to their financial wellbeing, people who were poorer as children were more likely to respond by making more impulsive, riskier choices than usual, whereas people from more secure backgrounds did the opposite. Continue reading

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The Anchoring Effect: The Old Numerical Ball and Chain

We like to think we are rational decision-makers, but if you have read any of our blog entries (here, or here, or here, for instance) or, indeed, any of dozens of popular books about how we decide (e.g., How We Decide, … Continue reading

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Don’t go shopping (for anything) on an empty stomach

We have all heard the expression, Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. The common wisdom is that if you’re hungry and you go grocery shopping, you’re likely to buy that king size bag of Doritos and the gallon of … Continue reading

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Older Really Is Wiser

Late-night TV advertisements often paint a picture of older adults as terminally bewildered. The advertisements depict seniors trying to make sense of their health care options, insurance plans, retirements accounts, etc. – and failing miserably. These TV seniors are invariably … Continue reading

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On The Origin of Cooties: The subtle and not-so-subtle influences on what we want and don’t want.

Some things are just disgusting. For the most part, we agree on what those things are. For instance, we don’t like others’ bodily fluids, and we don’t like decaying meat. Most of us are disgusted by crawling insects, too. Psychologists … Continue reading

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Of Sheep and Peacocks: How Advertisers Get In Your Wallet

Among the many tricks advertisers employ to persuade consumers to part with their money, two are particularly common. You’ll recognize them. Blending In and Standing Out In one technique, known by psychologists as “social proof,” advertisers make claims such as: “We … Continue reading

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Keeping up with Joneses easier during recession, for the rich

A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research investigates the spending behaviors of wealthy households during periods of recession. Authors Wagner A. Kamakura (Duke University) and Rex Yuxing Du (University of Houston) write that “even when their consumption budget … Continue reading

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