The Fiscal Fitness Podcast, Episode 55: Cognitive Biases and How They Affect our Spending (Part 3) - Archived

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This episode is part three of our six-part series on cognitive biases and how they affect our spending habits and financial decisions. (Make sure you check out part 1 and part 2 if you haven’t yet.) In this episode, we discuss how the attention bias is impacting the purchases we’re making, but also the emphasis we place on those purchases as being life-savers.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Attention bias – what it is and how it’s being used to affect my  decision-making
  • How this shows up on a regular basis for us
  • How it’s impacting the purchases we make and possibly leading to buyer’s remorse 
  • How we can overcome this bias

Steps to overcome Attention Bias:

  • Solution 1: Talk to someone you trust about it. When you’re about to spend your hard-earned money on something, share it with the group or with me or with Jill so we can give you our opinions. We are not falling victim to attentional bias so even hearing what we have to say is important. It’s BEST if you can find someone who is “casually” interested in the item or industry you’re focusing on but not so interested they are biased.
  • Solution 2: Continue to do more research but in particular, search for negative reviews or criticism of that item. A negative review of an item can shatter that funhouse mirror quite effectively. It can bring me right back down to earth about an item and make me see that perhaps it would not be a good idea to spend a lot of money on that item.
  • Solution 3: Give yourself a longer waiting period before buying it. This is exactly why so many of you created “spending time frames” for your financial principles. Time is one of the most effective responses to attentional bias.
  • Solution 4: Consider the opportunity cost – what effect does this have on your goals and what can you NOT buy because you may buy this?
  • Solution 5: Try to focus on something else entirely and unrelated. If you want to buy a new dress, go hiking instead or go to the gym. If you want to buy some electronics, read a book. Do anything other than think of that thing you desire.


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