How to use cognitive dissonance to stop spending money

. 2 min read

I mentioned in a Worth in Progress video last autumn that in order to make a nostalgic memory, you want to get a new outfit for the occasion and wear it for the first time there. I used to live by this advice - my partner and I have a staycation in a large city close by at least twice a year, and I would order online new clothes for myself for each trip. And it worked. Every trip has turned super nostalgic, and every morning of the first day of each trip, when I would wake up and put on the new pants, shirt, jewelry, bag, shoes even, I would feel special - almost as if it were my birthday. The whole ritual was crowned by a visit to my hairdresser to have my hair shiny and wavy for the weekend.

But that was a different time. My monthly income level was somewhat higher than it is now. These days, I'm also actively saving a large chunk of my paycheck each month, leaving almost nothing in the account I use for everyday goods and services. And somehow, once the money is moved to my savings account (where I can't access it with my debit card), I don't feel like touching it anymore.

What a hack!

Knowing that I only have around 100 emergency bucks on the everyday account has somehow made me immune to shopping - online and in store. Why? I'm not sure. Perhaps I'm afraid that if I had easy access to the savings wherever I was, I'd lose control and spend all of my savings.

The point is that once I started thinking of myself as poor - even if I wasn't, I just moved all my residual income after necessary expenses to another account - I somehow, almost without realizing, started buying less expensive groceries and becoming immune to the pseudo-need of new clothes. I had no idea that would happen. I accidentally hacked my subconscious.

Perhaps this means that the desire to buy stuff is fueled by buying stuff, and the lack thereof by not buying anything?

What this could mean is that while the time to achieve this immunity probably varies from person to person, most people can be rehabilitated from needless spending by removing the opportunity to do so - by transferring all of their paycheck to an account you cannot access with a credit card, making them feel poor when they can't shop on impulse. If you can't spend money, you're mind will start to think it doesn't want to spend money.

A nice way to make cognitive dissonance work for your advantage!