It might be hard to tell from my love of sarcasm and propensity for non-lady like vocabulary, but I’m a relatively emotional and sentimental person. I still have the first gift my boyfriend ever got me from a work trip and I have a necklace that no longer fits in case I ever have a daughter and can gift it to her. I buy a souvenir on each trip so I can remember my travels. I often thought my emotions and sentiment were of no real tangible value, but turns out I was wrong.
According to the Banking Reimagined Savings Study, sponsored by Capital One and led by Financial Psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz of Creighton University, positive memories tied to sentimental items can be harnessed to improve savings behaviors. The study found that people who were able to associate a sentimental item to their savings (the sentimental item group) were able to increase their savings rate three times more (67%) compared to those people who did not experience the same emotion-based immersion (control group).
The study was conducted across five cities, including Boston, and in each city, the sentimental item group reported saving, on average, a substantially higher percentage of their gross income three weeks after the emotion-based immersion. In Boston, they increased their savings rate by 75% in just three weeks!
The study and researchers hypothesize that the sentimental item group was able to develop a deeper emotional incentive for saving money through positive, emotionally-charged memories. Academic research is all well and good, but I always wonder how you can take the learnings and apply them to real life. Good news, I have a few tips and tricks for you.
4 Tips to Harness Sentiment to Boost Your Savings
1. Find a sentimental item that ties to your saving needs
For me, my main reason to save is to travel, which I talked about here. I keep cherished souvenirs and photos from my trips around my house and in plain sight so I can be reminded of my previous trips and be encouraged to save more.
2. When you are motivated to take action, automate it!
For example, set up a monthly contribution from your checking account to a savings account, like Capital One’s 360 Money Market, a high-interest account. It elevates banking as a flexible, fee-free online, mobile and in-person support savings account that offers a rewarding high-interest rate and access to tools needed for long-haul savings growth.
3. Give your savings a specific name
I have two savings account, and one of them is specifically for my travel savings. I’ve named this savings account “Travel Fund” so that every time I check my bank account online, I’m reminded for what I’m saving and am inspired to add another few dollars each time.
4. Explore the innovative tools and educational services available to solve money problems and meet your financial goals
Capital One designed the Capital One Café experience to do just that. In Boston, there are eight locations where you can take advantage of Capital One’s free Money Coaching and free Money Workshops, challenge your financial knowledge through Interactive Screens that provide educational money content, or learn new digital tools through our interactive Demo Bar.
If you’re interested in data analysis like me and also trying to increase your savings, you should absolutely read the full Banking Reimagined Savings Study. It’s so fascinating to me how much emotion drives what most people think is a rational decision – finance and savings. It just goes to show that we don’t always know why we do what we do, but once we learn we can use that to drive improved behavior.