Based on research by Tam, L., & Dholakia, U. M. (2011) written by Mara Rowcliffe, M.S.
Here’s a tip that’ll help you save money!
Researchers evaluated the effect of time, optimism, and decision making on personal savings estimates and actual amount saved. Over the course of five experiments, they analyzed what helped and hindered people’s ability to save money. First, people who estimated the amount they would save in the immediate month ahead estimated saving less than those estimating for a future month. Then they observed: the longer the time, individuals felt more optimistic about how much money they could save. They asked participants to describe how they will save the money. When describing their savings plan for the next month, they were more specific compared to describing their year’s plan. Then the researchers compared participants estimates with the amount they actually saved. Results showed that participants saving for a month in the future over-estimated how much they would save, and actually ended up saving significantly less money than either those who saved for the next month or the next year.
When planning to save, set realistic and attainable targets. Start with a short term goal, and be specific: plan how much and how you will actually accomplish it.
Tam, L., & Dholakia, U. M. (2011). Delay and duration effects of time frames on personal savings estimates and behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 114(2), 142-152.