Summary of “I Made One Simple Financial Change and It Lowered My Spending”

The idea is to increase the pain of paying, especially with a credit card, by forcing myself to take note of what I’m spending.
Looking back at my bank-account statements from the past few years, I can see that my monthly discretionary spending dropped somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the five months after I introduced this system.
Perhaps the more definitive success of my system is the fact that, even as I have begun to earn more money, my monthly spending has remained more or less the same-a fact that I attribute in part to the increased clarity of my cash flow.
“Making a list of spending is very useful,” he told me, and said I’d successfully devised a way to increase my pain of paying.
Another thing to consider when making spending decisions, Ariely says, is what one could be buying instead with the same money.
The conventional way of thinking about budgeting, he says, usually “Puts a lot of blame on people when they’re spending money on things that give them pleasure. There’s a sort of puritanical aspect, like, I caught this person going to Starbucks.” He continued, “I think the real goal of budgeting is to make sure that you’re spending your money on the things that are the most valuable and enjoyable for you.” He also made the point Loewenstein did about “Big-ticket items,” but said he thinks my system is a good way to make sure someone’s nonessential spending goes toward things they enjoy.
Hearing all this feedback about my personal-finance system made me a bit discouraged about the dynamics that shape spending.
What would create such a culture? There is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which provides high-level government oversight, and there are small individual actions, but there isn’t something in between-a powerful advocacy group, a mainstream cultural movement, or something else not yet built or imagined-that serves as a counterweight to the pressure on Americans to spend.

The orginal article.