Category Archives: money

HOW TO SPEND LESS

How would you like to automatically spend less and protect your identity just by using cash in place of plastic cards. Two things most of us are concerned about especially during this new age of hacking. Many of us enjoy some level of fraud protection when using credit cards. If our card number is stolen, we can file a complaint and not be responsible for the charge. This wonderful benefit is why I use credit cards.

However, I met a vendor on vacation recently who told me he got rid of his cards forever. When I asked why, he said that his identity was stolen in the Target hack a few months ago. He claimed he never wanted to go through that again, so he only uses cash now. Beside identity safety, the very use of cash changes how we view our spending. The purpose of a card is obviously for ease of use. But, it has become so easy, it is a distraction to our perception of spending. Since we do not deliberate over our spending, we do not experience the “pain of payment” according to some studies. When we perceive this pain, we spend less.

We also value our purchase differently depending on how we buy it. “Across four experiments(1), we demonstrate that consumers perceive and evaluate the same products differently when primed with credit cards as opposed to cash. Specifically, when credit concepts are activated, people attend more to benefit aspects of a product whereas when cash concepts are activated, people attend more to cost aspects of the product being considered (i.e., the costs associated with product acquisition and use).” In other words, using cards takes our attention off the price and onto the product. Using cash reverses this perception.

Besides spending less and protecting your identity, I’ve noticed that using cash lowers the price of retail items. I bought some art from the above vendor who has a retail price of $60, but only $50 for cash without tax. I did not have the cash at that time and ended up paying $65 with tax. That is a 15% premium I could have saved. I recently had surgery, but since I don’t have health insurance, the cash price they gave me was 50% of the normal price. Remember, vendors have processing fees with cards that eat into their profit. So, they prefer cash too.

The above article also mentions a study that found using cards can be bad for our health. Using credit cards deludes us into making over-indulgent purchases that are not good for us. Weather it is eating or drinking to much, it appears that most purchases with cards can cost us in more than one way. So, lets trick ourselves into saving money starting right now.

In conclusion, using the simple method of cash payment:

1. Helps us spend less

2. Helps protect our identity

3. Helps get a better retail price

4. May even be better for our health

From: L. Johnson    www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Chatterjee, P., Rose, R. “Do Payment Mechanisms Change the Way Consumers Perceive Products?” 11-13-2011. Chicago Journals, Univ. of Chicago Press. Retrieved on 6-23-2015 from: http://www.jcr-admin.org/files/pressPDFs/111411131134_chatterjee–article.pdf

Meditate for Health and Saving

It may surprise some that you can meditate for health and savings. There are mountains of studies regarding the many health benefits of meditation. One study (1) that summarizes others breaks down the benefits into five categories. The first is stress reduction, which affects almost every system in our bodies. The sympathetic nervous system is calmed, which reduces the cortisol and adrenaline that are correlated with stress. Meditating facilitates relaxation for sleep or before a stressful event.

Transcendental Meditation also lowers the risk of heart disease and has been known to lower the incidence of strokes, heart attack, and death compared to non-meditators. The study reports that through T.M., heart disease can be lowered by nearly 50% and high blood pressure can be managed also. I know too many middle-aged people who are on hypertension medications, and fail to follow other healthful behaviors like exercise, sodium reduction, and meditation. TM is apparently the only meditation practice that has been proven to lower blood pressure and to get approval from the American Heart Association. Its benefits also help manage depression, in that mood becomes more stable, and also lowers anxiety.

The financial benefit of reduced medical expenses seems a little confusing at first. But, “Inpatient days decreased by more than 50% in every age category, children, young and older adults and out-patient visits were reduced by 47% to 69%. Surprisingly, admissions for benign and malignant tumors dropped 55%, heart disease by 87% and more than 30% for infectious diseases. (1)” Less doctor visits and medications simply means we save more money.

These figures are too meaningful to overlook and can apply especially well in retirement. In order to understand this, both inpatient and outpatient visits dropped because meditation reduces our response to pain. For us to see a doctor outside of our routine visits, we usually need to feel discomfort or distress. Tumors and infections tend to drop as a result of an improved immune response, while lower heart disease from deep relaxation is already documented. The conclusion is that stress and anxiety compound or even create health problems that we normally would not have.

Taking 15 to 20 minutes once or twice a day to meditate is an enjoyable period of calmness in a hectic day. I meditate in the morning for alertness and at night for relaxation. I go to the doctor so little, I’ve had no need for insurance for over 20 years.        L.J. www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Garcia, M.(6-10-0213) “Five reasons transcendental meditation is good for your health” voxxi.com. Retrieved on 2-11-2014 from: voxxi.com/2013/06/10/transcendental-meditation-tm-good-for-health/