What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same? If you’re Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day, you could drive off a cliff with a groundhog or electrocute yourself with a toaster and wake up the next day without a scratch. On the other hand, if you’re trying to save money, you could significantly improve your account balance.
Thinking about time as a cycle of recurring experiences rather than a typical linear, goal-oriented approach may help people increase their savings, according to recent research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Longer-term savings objectives often lead people to create abstract goals instead of clear plans on how to accomplish those objectives. They also encourage people to procrastinate by creating the mindset that there’s always tomorrow.
“Americans seem to understand and believe in the importance of having an emergency fund, back-up savings, or simply ‘money in the bank’ — and yet, savings rates are still low,” said psychological scientist Leona Tam of the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia. “Our research suggests a new, alternative method to personal savings that we hope will help to bridge this gap.”