Friday, January 13, 2012

Dieting and Saving Money Are Both Tough

In a lot of ways our finances are mirrored in the way we treat food. Not only do our brains treat money like they treat food (with a resulting dopamine response) but they are both finite resources of which our primary brain and/or rational brain are always trying to get more of.

I think dieting is a lot like trying to save or pay off debt. In both instances, it's probably easier to cut back. Either to consume fewer calories or to cut your spending budget. It's much more difficult to earn extra. It's a lot easier to save 300 calories saying no to that cookie than it is to jog the 3 or more miles it would take to burn off 300 calories.

Similarly, when people are faced with tremendous debt or the need to save for a goal we'd much prefer we could just make the extra money. But earning more income is pretty tough. Sure you can look for a better paying job, ask for a raise, try to start your own business on the side, or maybe even take on a second job. But it's probably a lot easier to save an extra $50 a month by cutting back on certain bills or utilities where you can, or spending less in discretionary areas. It would be a lot more difficult to convince your boss you're worth $50 extra a month. Especially in this economy.

(Photo from Better Than Bacon)

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