Psychology

The Hawthorne Effect and You

We all do it. When we know we’re being watched, we’re on our best behavior. We often tend to perform better and we usually tend to make better choices, too. Then, when we think the focus is off of us, we relax and sometimes make different choices. This effect, in which we act “better” when …

Categories: Psychology

How I Use My Net Worth as a Psychological Carrot

I like keeping score. Keeping score is an easy way for me to know how well I’m doing. It lets me judge, in a very clear way, whether I’m improving and whether I’m making forward progress towards my goals. For a long time, I was obsessed with keeping score in various aspects of my life …

Stress and Overspending

Lately, I’ve been under a lot of stress – perhaps the highest level of stress I’ve been under since switching to a full-time writing career. I’m in absolute crunch mode with my second book, with a manuscript due in a few days. I’ve also been slowly moving into public speaking – and I certainly get …

The Forgetful Mind

I’ve written many, many times about how relevatory keeping a “thought notebook” in my pocket has been for me. Whenever I have a stray thought that might be useful at all to remember later, I jot it down in the notebook and then review it later, usually a couple of reviews a day. Figuring this …

Categories: Psychology

Mirror Neurons: Why Watching Others Succeed Won’t Help You Succeed

When I first started becoming interested in cooking, I went through a short period where I watched a lot of programming on Food Network. The idea behind it – in my own mind – is that I could learn about cooking through watching and then I could immediately apply it in the kitchen. What I …

Categories: Psychology

Money Bullies

When I was in seventh grade, a bunch of twelfth graders grabbed me one day. They tossed me in a trash can, popped a lid on it, then rolled the can (with me and some trash inside) out into the middle of the school’s parking lot. They then administered some kicks to the can and …

Some Thoughts on Moods and Spending

For me, September is the unhappiest month of the year. Sarah, after being off all summer, returns to work at the end of August, leaving me alone at home many days with my thoughts and my work. This also means that the children’s daycare attendance increases as well. The house goes from noisy and happy …

Categories: Psychology

The Path of Least Resistance Is the Path Without Opportunities

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein In response to my recent article, Are Poor People Lazy?, where I concluded that laziness doesn’t always equate to poverty and vice versa, Pamela left this comment: There are many factors that lead a person to the life they …

Seven Tempting Places – And Eight Ways to Minimize Their Impact

I’m often tempted to spend money that I shouldn’t. I’m good at restraining my impulsive nature. I don’t simply go into stores and then emerge later with a hefty bag, a credit card bill, and a dazed look on my face. Still, in certain places, I am strongly tempted to spend. I look around and …

Categories: Psychology, Shopping

Frugality That’s “Impossible”

If you’ve read The Simple Dollar for long, you’ve seen tons of lists of money-saving tips, from 100 little steps for saving money and 100 free things to do this weekend to fifty ways to have fun by yourself on the cheap and my frugal vacation guide to Dallas/Fort Worth, just to name a few. …

Categories: Frugality, Psychology

Are Poor People Lazy?

About a week ago, J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly posted an article about the difference between high income earners and low income earners. Most of the differences between the two that he listed come largely down to personal effort and personal choices. In the comments, many people jumped to the conclusion that “poor people …

Categories: Psychology

I’ll Do It Tomorrow

Tom left a great comment on the recent article about taking care of your things: How can you fight off “I’ll do it tomorrow”-ness? My lack of motivation makes me lazy, even though I see the benefits of not being like this. Procrastination is a big enemy of financial progress. It’s easy to say “I’ll …

Perspective

Recently, a brilliant little article popped up over at Five Cent Nickel, outlining the idea that one’s take on long-term investment performance is often a matter of perspective. I go even further: almost every assumption that you base your money decisions – and even your other life decisions – on is a matter of perspective. …

Review: Get A Financial Life

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Lately, there have been a ton of good books targeting people in their twenties with a burgeoning interest in personal finance, from Dara Duguay’s revised Please Send Money (targeting college students) to Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich (targeting young professional …

The Short Term and the Long Term Choice

For many people, junk food is a serious temptation. It helps them feel a sense of comfort. It provides a quick burst of flavor. It helps them de-stress. It provides an energy boost at an opportune moment. In the short term, it’s a big gain. In the long term, though, it’s a different story. It …

The Cost of Free

Chris Anderson’s most recent book, Free, argues that the future of many forms of commerce revolve around giving away their products to consumers without any financial cost to the buyer. Anderson believes pretty strongly in this principle – in fact, you can read the full book for free over at Scribd. I agree strongly with …

Resetting the Scale

One of my passions is food. If you’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for long, you know that I love spending a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing an interesting meal. My food articles seem to always grab some acclaim – I think it’s because I bring a bit of extra passion to the …

Ten Unusual Ways to Improve Your Appearance of Confidence That Really Work

I’ve seen it over and over again: the person in the office with self-confidence is the one that gets the plum assignments. The promotions. The raises. The recognition. The others, who sit back quietly, get left behind (and sometimes resent it). For a long time, I was one of the resentful folks. I had a …

The Total Money Makeover: Debt Myths

This is the second of twelve parts of a “book club” reading and discussion of Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, where this book on debt reduction is teased apart and looked at in detail. This entry covers the third chapter, finishing on page 51. The next entry, covering the fourth chapter, will appear on …