Saving is actually pretty simple — as long as your ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex are psyched about future rewards, you're good. Those are apparently the parts of your brain that are stimulated when it comes to delaying gratification, says a New York University study. A recent Daily Beast article delved into the psyche of frugality and pinpointed why some are more inclined to saving:
Psychologists and behavioral economists, meanwhile, are identifying the personality types and other traits that distinguish savers from spenders, showing that people who aren’t good savers are neither stupid nor irrational — but often simply don’t accurately foresee the consequences of not saving. Rewire the brain to find pleasure in future rewards, and you’re on the path to a future you really want.
Apparently, there are a couple of things you can do to rewire your brain. One of the less mainstream ways includes zapping the brain regions that affect gratification with weak electrical currents. The zaps are noninvasive and can increase or shut down activity in specific parts of your brain.
Not everyone wants their head zapped, so scientists have started researching more realistic ways to encourage your brain to embrace saving. Experts have found that since short-term memory is linked to planning for or envisioning the future, training your memory can build up a desire to save. Other suggestions include practicing delayed gratification and working on having a better social support network and increasing happiness. A positive mindset does wonders for decision-making and developing a long-term view about managing your finances.
It sounds cliche, but I personally think that all you need is time to develop a better attitude about saving. I definitely feel that my money practices have improved as I matured. I was always conscious of saving, but it definitely struck home for me more once I graduated. What about you — when did you start caring about your finances?