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Lost Track Of Your Spendings? Tighten Up Your Belt With This

Lost Track Of Your Spendings? Tighten Up Your Belt With This

We all know the feeling. After payday arrives, we get a major cash infusion and feel able to breathe easy. But a week or so later, all that money’s gone. You can’t even remember where you spent it. Maybe it’s the nights out with friends, the lunches with coworkers, the new clothes for spin class, or getting coffee every day (and sometimes twice a day). The only thing you know for sure is that the sum of money you were paid has dwindled.

The average American is spending $1.33 for every $1 earned.[1] So many people worldwide are in debt from student loans, auto loans, home loans, and credit card spending. In fact, the average American household has $8,700 in credit card debt.

This happens to most people. We want to save money, but we often end up spending more than we expected. This makes it so hard to save enough money for the important big-ticket purchases: cars, vacations, homes, etc. We have our savings priorities, but we often fall short of our real goals.

What’s more, it’s hard to know where to cut our budgets. Or where we even tend to overspend in the first place.

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Keeping track of your spendings

In order to stop overspending and to meet your savings goals, you need to keep track of your actual activity. You need be aware of the problem before you can even begin to fix it.

That’s where Spendee comes in.

When it comes down to it, there aren’t many programs or applications that make personal finance simple. But Spendee offers quick and transparent information about your spending and it’s easy to use. Let me walk you through the main features of the app right now.

1. See where you spent your money

Spendee gives you a simple but powerful way to view your spending. Graphs and charts track the categories you spent in, how much you spent on average, the number of transactions, biggest expenses, and much more.

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    This super-valuable tool allows you not only to budget realistically, but to see trends in your spending so you can track down further details if you want. Surprised that you spent $5,400 last week? Well, now that you know, you can go into your recent transactions and see where exactly that money went.

    2. Plan your spending with budgets

    Individual budgets are a powerful tool to help you stop overspending and start boosting your savings. Spendee lets you set budgets for various categories. This lets you track how much you eat out or spend at the grocery store (one of the most flexible part of anybody’s budget, by the way).

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      The bright visuals (with percentages) give you an immediate sense of how much you’ve already spent and what you have left. So if you’ve spent 80% of your food budget by the 10th of the month, it might be time to cut back!

      3. Create different wallets for different spending purposes

      In what’s call the “envelope method,” Spendee Premium lets you set aside the money that you already have for specific purposes. (Note: This is not an option with the basic, free version of the app.)

        This isn’t so different from regular budgeting, but many people swear by this method. Why? It allows you to divide up your sources of money, which in turn makes it psychologically more challenging to overspend. You can’t spend what you don’t have, and if you restrict yourself to money in a particular wallet, you can’t mess up.

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        4. Sync your Spendee account with your online bank account

          With Spendee Premium, you can always keep track of your money. Your transactions will automatically update when you sync Spendee with your online bank account.

          Simply select your bank and enter in your credentials. All of your transactions will get automatically imported and categorized. Seeing your spending activity couldn’t be easier if you tried.

          Take control of your finances

          The sooner the better! If you find yourself wanting to rein in spending, or just to save better for mid- to longer-term goals, it’s important to have and use the right tools.

          Install Spendee Here

          If you love the free version, consider trying out the Premium version if the features interest you!

          Reference

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          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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          Last Updated on July 17, 2019

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          What happens in our heads when we set goals?

          Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

          Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

          According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

          Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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          Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

          Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

          The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

          Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

          So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

          Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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          One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

          Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

          Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

          The Neurology of Ownership

          Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

          In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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          But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

          This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

          Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

          The Upshot for Goal-Setters

          So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

          On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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          It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

          On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

          But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

          More About Goals Setting

          Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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