Thinking About Financial Portfolios Makes Shoppers Spend More

Consumers can be cued to spend more through a series of simple “priming” questions. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research split subjects into two groups. One was asked a series of questions about the contents of their wallets: Did they have any library cards? Did they carry pictures or cash? How many other wallets did they own? The other was asked about their financial portfolio.

The group primed to think about their wealth spent an average of 36% more. So then, if you want to curb your spending, before entering the store, spend a few moments visualizing the contents of your wallet!

It’s How Much You Think You Have [NYT]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Hoppes says:

    Thinnking about my “wealth” has the opposite effect on me. I guess it also has to do with how much money you actually have…

  2. GearheadGeek says:

    … or how much you really understand about your personal finances and the likely future demands that will be placed upon them.

    I guess if I had a few million in safe investments, thinking about that might make me spend more. As it stands, I can’t spend like a rabid American consumer and still expect to have a comfortable retirement someday, so thinking about my finances is the perfect way to help decide whether I really need something.

    I think the mistake some people make is asking themselves “Can I afford that?” while thinking about short-term cashflow rather than long-term goals.