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Here's proof you'll be spending more money in 2016

Stashed in: Awesome, Personal Finance

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Oh hey guess what people... if you make it actually frictionless to spend money, people spend MORE MONEY!!! WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS?!?!? Well, anyone who has been drunk in the backseat of an Uber during surge pricing has found this out the hard way... or so I hear.

Saving money is already hard without making the process of spending easier.

In 2011, a study published in the journal Obesity described an experiment in which some people got one 400g bag of crackers, while others got the same quantity of crackers, but in four separate, 100g bags. In which of the two cases did people eat fewer crackers? You guessed it: when the crackers were given in four bags. What made them stop sooner? When crackers were divided into multiple bags, people stopped at the end of a bag.

We call this the "decision point". When we get a large bag of crackers, we sit watching a movie and just eat without thinking much. But, when the bag is finished, we stop. And when we stop we think. And, as we think, we are more likely to ask ourselves if we really want to stop or continue. Sometimes we conclude that we should stop (and on quite a few we even do stop).  

If we approached cracker consumption in the way we're currently thinking about digital wallets, we would be trying to build cracker dispensers that give people a continuous supply of crackers without thinking much and while minimising physical effort. But is this the world we want to create? When it comes to crackers, it seems clear that a world in which people eat crackers without thinking is not a good world for the individuals in question or for society (though it might be good in the short-term for the people producing crackers). 

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