How Much Is Tech Actually Costing Us? by Molly Rumbelow
The Low Tech Trek is excited to host a new guest writer, Molly Rumbelow, creator of Fuss Free Copy, a copywriting agency who specializes in Financial Services and FinTech content. Below, she talks about how to be wise with how we use technology when making purchases.
It’s not the most glamorous topic in the world, nor is it the most comfortable. In fact, most of us shy away from thinking too hard about our financial situation.
A lot of emotions are tied into how much money we do or don’t have. Whilst it can give us freedom, it can also cause us to feel scared, stressed and anxious.
Unexpected bills can disrupt us completely and make us feel like we don’t have any control.
So then rise then of new technology like budget and money management apps must be a good thing, right?
In some ways, absolutely.
If the first step in starting to address the issues we face with our finances is to look at them head on, then apps that help us do that are great. If they can nudge us into making better spending decisions, then they can be a great tool.
But, the rise in technology can also have a negative impact on our lives and spending habits. Impacts that we may not even be aware of day-to-day, which make them even more important to understand.
Let’s start by looking at the difference in spending on cards vs cash. There have been a number of scientific studies carried out that show that our brains actually have different processes they go through when spending in these two ways.
When we hand over cold, hard cash it actually produces a feeling of pain in our brains as we register the loss of the money we’re handing over. When we pay by card we get none of this and our brains are blissfully unaware that we’ve just paid money. This lack of reaction causes us to end up making impulsive purchase decisions when paying by card and it also means we’re far happier and therefore more likely to go over budget.
I’m not here to tell you how, where and what to spend money on. But, if you want to make sure you stick to your budget and buy things that you won’t regret – I highly recommend you agree a budget with yourself and you take that money out in cash first before hitting the shops.
Studies have also shown that we actually have a better relationship with our purchase when we’ve spent cash on it. We feel we deserve it more and therefore get more of those lovely happy hormones kicking around after we’ve bought it. So, by paying in cash not only are you helping yourself stick to a better budget but you’re also making your shopping experience more enjoyable.
Another ‘too much tech’ issue that crops up is the introduction of one-click shopping. If our brains can’t process using a physical card in a store properly, then they have no chance when it comes to spending on our phone when you’re busy doing 18 other things.
The convenience of online shopping is a double edged-sword. On the one hand, we’ve all been in a situation where we needed to order something quickly and have thanked Amazon that it exists. But, on the other we’ve probably all been guilty of buying rubbish we don’t need, haven’t thought about that hard and maybe not even ever used.
Same goes for our phones storing our credit card details. It’s all too easy just to click one button and forget that somewhere along the line – you will be paying for it.
We would all like to think that we could be disciplined enough to only use these nifty time-savers responsibly and in emergencies. But, let’s face it – that isn’t always the case.
Our brains are hardwired to deliver us the most pleasure in the shortest time. Being able to quickly hit a button and get that super silly item and not think twice about it is just too tempting for our pleasure-seeking brains and we will cave in to that feeling.
So, the thing we need to remember about all of this is that these retailers have designed these processes to give us as little thinking time as possible. I know that sounds very cynical and honestly, I’m not bitter about it – they’re businesses and they need to make money.
But, what I am passionate about is making sure that we understand this, so we can use technology to further our own means, not just line the pockets of these big corporations.
If you want to feel more in control of your money, have a think about how you can start to de-digitalize your spending habits. Let’s try and make cash king again and let’s see the difference it makes to our bank balance.
Molly Rumbelow is an experienced copywriter with over 8 years experience working within Financial Services marketing. She runs Fuss Free Copy, a copywriting agency who specializes in Financial Services and FinTech content. Their mission is to help take the fear out of finances by creating clear and compassionate content for customers.