You must hand it to marketers. They really do their homework as far as understanding how the human brain works.
Take the buy now pay later and installment schemes. They are hitting two birds with one stone. Now ordinarily, the saying should be positive as it talks about efficiency. Unfortunately, it is efficiency only on the part of the sellers.
The first so-called bird that marketers hit with their buy now pay later and installment schemes is the hit of dopamine that the brain gets when it is able to enjoy things now. The Filipino expression for this is “now na”. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. This neurotransmitter helps the person to see the reward and act on it.
Dopamine is essential for survival. Unfortunately, marketers take advantage of it so that potential customers purchase their products and services even when they are not needed or when it is not the opportune time to do so. Have you ever been attracted to gym equipment for the home? For example, while power treadmills allow you to conveniently do exercise in the comfort of your own home, those treadmills eventually transform into convenient towel racks and bag hangers. Unless you are truly driven to do exercise, the lack of challenge makes you go for the bed instead of doing the treads.
The other bird hit is the suppression of the pain in spending. The brain hates to lose. But to trick the brain into not sensing the pain “now na”, marketers allow buyers to enjoy consumer goods now and just worry about payments later through installments that in the end actually cost more because of the added interest. There is not much persuasion involved, just a judo-like move by marketers of using how the brain is naturally hardwired to lead consumers to an easy sale.
So, how do you fight against the one-two punch of marketers? One way is the place money in separate accounts and train the brain to use only one account for out of necessity or whimsical spending. Surprisingly, a simple rule that the brain can easily follow and internalize is all that is needed to ward off attacks from marketers. Mind you, those attacks heighten during the holidays, which are there because of tradition or marketer-made.
And a good way to keep critical money from being spent is to not only put them in separate accounts but to also lock them up in those that have high penalties for withdrawal. These are none other than insurance policies and investment securities. This way, you yourself hit two birds with one stone, that of avoiding unnecessary spending and saving up for your future.
Remember that hitting two birds with one stone can be both positive and negative.
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(Originally written by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)
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