Dollars and Sense: Book Review and Giveaway

Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter

Most personal finance literature focuses on the numbers. How much you need to save, where to find the best deals, which investments earn the highest return, why you should pay off your high interest debt first. But there’s a growing body of work exploring our financial behaviour and why certain decisions about money are made with our emotions rather than our heads.

At the forefront of that research is Duke University professor Dan Ariely, best-selling author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.

Dollars and Sense: Book Review

Dan has teamed up with comedian Jeff Kreisler to write a new book about money called Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter. It’s a fascinating take on how we think about money, what makes us happy (or miserable) when we spend it, and how we can change our decision-making for the better.

Part one explains some of the psychological mistakes we make with money and how businesses such as casinos have perfected the art of separating us from our money. You’ll learn about mental accounting, or how we feel differently about two types of spending; the price of free, where free items like parking or drinks cost us in other unexpected ways; and relativity, where we can drive out of our way to save a few pennies per litre on gas, but won’t go across town to save $20 on a winter jacket.

Part two looks at how we assess value in ways that have little to do with value. The authors share the story of when, in 2012, new JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson scrapped the retailer’s traditional, yet slightly deceptive practice of marking products up and then marking them back down as a bargain deal. In the name of transparency, JCPenney would now offer fair and square pricing with no coupons, sales, or bargaining.

Customers revolted. They preferred the old way with sales and discounts. It made them feel like they were getting a more value with a perceived deal, even though prices were relatively the same either way. Within a year, JCPenney lost $985 million and Johnson was out of a job.

Then there’s the example at a car dealership when we get offered add-ons such as rust-proofing, fabric protection, DVD players, or, ahem, even sunroofs.

“Car dealers – perhaps the most devious group of amateur psychologists this side of mattress salesmen – know that when we’re spending $25,000, additional purchases, like a $200 CD changer, seem cheap, even inconsequential. Would we ever buy a $200 CD changer? Does anyone even listen to CDs anymore? No and no. But at just 0.8 percent of the total purchase price, we hardly shrug.”

The Pain of Paying

The most interesting psychological concept, to me, was the pain of paying, which Dan and Jeff explore throughout Dollars and Sense.

Studies show that we’re willing to spend more when we pay by credit card instead of cash. If you don’t think that’s true, the next time you go out to a restaurant leave your credit cards at home and just bring cash.

The pain of paying is the idea that we experience some version of mental pain when we pay for things. It’s the result of two distinct factors:

  1. The gap between the time when our money leaves our wallet and the time we consume the good for which we’ve paid.
  2. The attention we give to the payment itself.

The formula is: Pain of paying = Time + Attention.

We can avoid the pain by increasing the amount of time between payment and consumption. That’s why saving up and paying for a vacation in advance can make a trip more enjoyable then if you pay as you go, or worse, are faced with a hefty credit card bill at the end of your holiday.

Here’s Dan Ariely speaking with CBC’s On The Money host Peter Armstrong about why we spend so much:

So How Should We Think About Money?

In Dollars and Sense, Dan says we can’t simply ‘fix’ our brains and automatically make better financial choices every time. Our primitive lizard brain is hard-wired to make irrational decisions. That’s why the first 200 pages of this book focus on all the head-scratching money moves we make – and why we make them – while only the last 40 pages deal with how to avoid those bad decisions and make better spending choices in the future.

The point of the book isn’t to make you question every financial decision, always, in every way possible. That would be psychologically overwhelming. Pick your spots and question those things that are most likely to cause long-term financial harm.

“There’s a reason why we’ve decided to show you why we make foolish money decisions, rather than telling you what to do in any situation. For one, we just don’t know what is the right thing to do in every situation. No one knows. But we also don’t want to give you fish; we want to show you how you’ve been fishing so you may approach future fishing in a better way, if you so choose.”

Some ways we can stop and think differently about the way we approach money is to:

  • Recognize opportunity costs – Consider what we’re sacrificing for what we’re getting
  • Remember everything is relative – Buying a $60 shirt marked down from $100 isn’t “saving $40”; it is “spending $60.”
  • Don’t compartmentalize – Pause, think, and remind yourself that money is fungible. Every dollar is the same. Your money.
  • Feel “some” pain when you spend – It won’t be long before blinking in a certain way will be a payment option. Don’t sign up for that.
  • Don’t trust your gut – Stop and question your long-term habits, whether that latte is worth $4 to you, or if a cable bundle is worth $140 per month.
  • Don’t overvalue what you own or what you might lose – Sunk costs cannot be recovered. If an amount is spent, it’s spent. When making financial decisions, consider only where you are now and where you will be in the future.

In general, though, when you don’t have any specific idea of an item’s value, do some research. Go online, investigate, ask around. Not for every day decisions like the price of chewing gum, but you should probably dig around for a few hours before going to a car dealership.

Final Thoughts

Dan Ariely is a behavioural economist who has done some incredible research about the human mind and how we make decisions. He doesn’t offer finger-wagging rules for us to follow, or chastise our bad choices. Instead he shows us why we make irrational decisions and how, with a little more thought, we can overcome our own emotions and the psychological tricks others use to separate us from our money.

In his latest book, Dollars and Sense, Dan trades on-and-off with financial comedian (is that really a thing?) Jeff Kreisler to deliver quite possibly the most entertaining and insightful personal finance book I’ve ever read.

Dollars and Sense is financial literacy at its finest. It aims to educate readers to be aware of their own cognitive limitations, design personal systems to correct themselves, and take control of their financial decisions. If you don’t learn something about yourself and how even the most sophisticated consumer can fall victim to his or her own mental mistakes, then congratulations – you’re a robot!

Time for a Giveaway!

The book publisher, HarperCollins, was kind enough to send us a copy of Dollars and Sense to give away on the blog. To enter, simply leave a comment below and tell us about one of your own irrational spending habits.

Do you carry credit card debt, yet also have money set aside in a savings account? Do you spend $7 on a greeting card at a grocery store when you could get one for $1 at the Dollar Store? Do you drive all over town to save a few bucks on groceries or gas, yet fail to put the same effort into negotiating your car loan or mortgage?

We’ll pick one entry and announce the winner in the next edition of weekend reading. Good luck!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Pascale Courrieu on November 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I try to save everywhere: store coupons, collect empty bottles etc yet didn’t mind shelling out thousands of dollars to buy shares of a highly volatile stock. Guess what happened to the highly volatile stock….Note to irrational self: stop beeing greedy and stop hoping to hit a home run…

  2. GYM on November 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I loved Dan Ariely’s previous book!

    I would love to win a copy of his new book, it sounds good 🙂

    I get a bit irrational with online purchases. I try and look for promo codes before hitting the buy button. One time I spent 2 hours to save $5 off a hotel booking lol.

  3. Expensive tastes on November 19, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Scotch, alas.

  4. Kat Sermat on November 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I heard Dan Ariely on CBC’s On the Money and was immediately intrigued. I’d be happy to be the winner of this book. Any irrational purchases I make tend to be when I’m travelling, and I suddenly find myself slapping down money for vacuum-packed haggis in Glasgow or a weird hand-printed t-shirt in Berlin.

  5. erin on November 19, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I spend an irrational amount of time comparing options online, especially for relatively minor things

  6. Steve Boyko on November 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    I’ll drive out of my way a bit to a Shell or Esso so I can get points when I fill up.. at least once I almost ran out of gas because I drove by another gas station in search of a points-earning station.

  7. TC on November 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Spend ages comparing things when I buy online but then buy on impulse at the store.

  8. Alpha on November 19, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I take night classes and if I forget to bring granola bars from home, I would rather starve and refuse to buy anything to eat (even Jamaican patties ($1.5)) just to save a couple of dollars until I get home.

  9. Katie on November 19, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Sometimes I’ll shop to make myself feel better, even though I know it’s a losing proposition on many fronts.

  10. Jason on November 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Coffee, got to have a good cup of java to start the day

  11. Pat O'Malley on November 20, 2017 at 5:20 am

    I am pretty good at not spending money until it comes to golf. I love playing and know I spend way too much every year on the game. I guess I could have worst habits. And surprisingly i don’t spend that much in the 19th hole. Most of money goes on equipment and green fees.

  12. Jon King on November 20, 2017 at 5:47 am

    I keep more money in my chequing account than I need “just in case”, instead of moving excess funds to my savings account where it will earn more interest… Even though I know the funds in my savings account will still be accessible in an emergency with the click of a button or two online.

  13. Gina on November 20, 2017 at 5:51 am

    If I buy something on sale, I then feel like the difference between the sale price and the full price is “free money“. For example, if I buy a shirt for $30 and is regularly $40, then I feel like I have $10 to spend on something else.

  14. Karash on November 20, 2017 at 6:15 am

    I spend on buying lottery tickets knowing very well I hardly ever win….and , ironically, here I am trying my “luck” again to win this free give away ..!

  15. Maggie on November 20, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Would always use a gas coupon received from a grocery store until I realized that during the coupon period that gas station was always higher priced. Often, the coupon would not compensate for the price differential. Blindly using coupons felt like such a great deal. Would love to read Dan Ariely’s book. Humour makes the medicine go down.

  16. Dean on November 20, 2017 at 6:24 am

    While renovating my house I will buy a lot of materials (sinks, doors, lights, etc) at the Restore because I cant pass up the deal, then when it comes time find that the great bargain wont meet my needs and I end up giving them back to Restore. At least it is a charity

  17. Amanda on November 20, 2017 at 6:24 am

    When doing something like a renovation, I justify buying more expensive versions of many items by saying “if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right” and assuming that the more expensive upgrades will always last longer. I also hate shopping so much that my husband has to send me to the mall when my clothes have several holes in them!

  18. Keith Gullage on November 20, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I am a very frugal spender. Then I found Craft Beer. I have to try them all. There are a lot of Craft Beers……

  19. Brian on November 20, 2017 at 6:27 am

    You mentioned this one was in the book but I’m less the culprit of it compared to my wife: buying something on sale just because it’s on sale, and even if we don’t need it. I hate this and it drives me bananas.

  20. Dan on November 20, 2017 at 6:33 am

    I spend way to much on green fees out of town while also being a member at home

  21. Tracey H on November 20, 2017 at 6:42 am

    I buy too much produce at the grocery store because I stand there thinking of the wonderful meals, soups, etc. I’ll make from it and how healthy I’ll be eating them. Once home, I find it too much work to wash, cut and chop everything and so much of it goes bad.

  22. Rob Lavery on November 20, 2017 at 6:46 am

    would love to read what they have to say about casinos – I do a lot of rationalization when I’m sitting in front of a slot machine!

  23. Jamie on November 20, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Quickly blowing through any money I take out of an ATM until I’m down to the last bill, which I can’t bring myself to spend and carry around with me for weeks while putting other purchases on my credit card.

  24. Carol A. on November 20, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Love shopping but now I always ask one question is it something I need or do I want it. 90% of the time the needs are winning. One guilty pleasure is a cup of coffee when doing errands otherwise I being my own coffee from home.

  25. Jill on November 20, 2017 at 7:08 am

    I still have a home phone even though there are only 2 people that ever call me on it. I seem to enjoy boosting Ma Bell’s profits.

  26. Lobna on November 20, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I was happy go lucky, but life hit me hard when my husband deserted me and my four kids in 2012. Since then, a self-employed single Mom I’ve learned the hard way how to manage my finance, till now 55 with no CPP, no RRSP, no TFSA, due to low income. The only thing that I’m very focused on maybe obsessed even is to be Mortgage free by 2020 ( finger crossed). In the meantime, I use my free time to educate myself about dividends stocks & indexed ETFs, how to own stocks that reward shareholders via dividends and use that income for retirement. For 5 years, and more years to come, my way of spending has drastically changed, I basically pay my bills, mortgage, eat healthy at home and wear used clothes, the rest is not important in my survival situation.
    Saving and raising 4 kids is not easy, but believe me when I say this: You have to be disciplined, focus, persevere, commitment, sacrifice, patience, and goal oriented with your Money otherwise the only loser is You! I’m still learning myself.
    I’d love to win a copy of Dan Ariely book, it’s a great tool to use against our bad behavior and psychology towards $$$. Cheers.

    • Val on November 20, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      This e mail is the winner, been there and done that! Even now my kids are gone and the mortgage is paid,thru the years I have of being patience it has ALWAYS paid off. I rarely EVER buy new, thrift stores , yard sales, Restore and auction sales , my whole house and wardrobe is filled with quality things. And, I am very proud of what I have achieved . I made a commitment to recycling over 35 years ago

  27. Henry Rempel on November 20, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I sometimes buy a product that is not quite what i want. It is a super deal though. Classic is a pair of shoes that might be 80% off but are a little wide. That item rarely gets used. Or out of guilt i wear the shoes and suffer just to say i did not waste money.

  28. B. on November 20, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I carry a credit card balance every month, and sometimes use a line of credit to pay some off to make room for purchase (I won’t clear it because it’ll give my wife too much room to rack it up) and carry the balance there, as well as going into overdraft between pays… using mental accounting I know at the end of the year my minimum incentive pay will cover the card (I only keep a $2500 limit) and line of credit, and I also have a surplus in my mortgage tax account that I will draw on, “when I need to”, all along paying some interest charges 12 months of the year! yay me!

  29. Al Aston on November 20, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I haven’t been inside my credit union in 18 months, using an ATM or credit card for in-person purchases, though the credit card is the prime payment system for me. Then there’s Amazon Prime – that two-day delivery on a pair of shoelaces sure is fun, but too easy to use. Intoxicating. Need it? Sure. It’ll be here in two days. When I actually go to the credit union for cash, it hits home a little more that it’s actually coming out of my account – flashbacks to 12-year-old me withdrawing hard-earned money from my passbook savings account -it sinks in as the teller counts out _my_ money.

  30. Larry B on November 20, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Marriage, easiest the most expensive thing a person can do….(grin)

  31. Carmen on November 20, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Memberships. I live in the Ottawa area and buy a season’s pass ($75) to park at the NCC park beaches in the summertime rather than pay $13 each time. Yup and after 6 visits, I feel vindicated. But then I get a bit ticked when some of my free-rider (swim) friends want to meet up at the free parking lots and get a ride in to the beaches.

  32. Frank on November 20, 2017 at 7:59 am

    This book sounds intriguing and a great follow up on Richard Thayler’s Nobel winning book Nudge. Love to give it a read. My story which was made known to me by Thayler…the human response to hit the default button. On Friday the credit card machine comes around and offers me help in deciding a TIP. The choices are 1. 15% 2. 20% 3. 25% 4. (At the bottom) other. Oh bother…More hassle with 4…ok a 10% TIP was more than deserved but the hassle of it all…I hit the default button 1. 15%

  33. Bernie on November 20, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Buying silly souvenirs on holidays… sure they remind me of a lovely trip , but some of them are so tacky you couldn’t pay me to own them under any other circumstances….!
    Yet because they are tied to a memory I’ll probably never get rid of them .

  34. Lorraine on November 20, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I confess – I spend $7 on a fancy cards …. I spend $7 on a magazine … and I spend way too much on my favourite hobby. But there is a difference between spending stupid money on things that are disposable and spending stupid money on things that give us pleasure. Right??!!

  35. DAISY on November 20, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Weakness for cheap earrings on Ebay. Buy some and then I end up wearing only my favourite pair which ARE pure silver and make me look expensive.hahhaha. So now I PLAN to no longer even look at earrings or buy any more. ALL I NEED are those nice silver earrings I purchased which go with everything.

  36. Vikas Verma on November 20, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I often get a little irrational when it comes to car accessories…
    I also drive out of my way to a particular brand’s gas station so I can get accumulate points.

  37. Paul on November 20, 2017 at 8:20 am

    For years I dealt with two banks. I then realized I actually did most of my banking with one and have been paying a $17 a month fee to the bank I barely used.

  38. Lynda on November 20, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I save money by biking into work but then I leave my bike outside in the rain even though there is a designated indoor space. It’s simply too inconvenient to haul it in. The rust on my bicycle make it so that I will probably have to replace it every 2 or 3 years.

  39. Carol on November 20, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I go 2 times a year to the City on a shopping spree and seem to completely turn off my frugal mind. I don’t keep track of how much I am spending and often end up with unnecessary purchases because of the great deals. I also turn a blind eye to the exchange rate. The rest of the year I will spend hours looking for coupons and sales and spend hours researching and debating if something is necessary or not. It’s like I flip a switch for the 2 weekends a year.

  40. John Ryan on November 20, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Like the JC Penny customers, I love a bargain. My wife and I said no more vacations until next fall and last night we found a great deal on a cruise and we depart January 5th…

    • John on November 25, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Way to go John Ryan. Cruises are great and it is better when one is a bargain price. Great deals are hard to find and always worth going for when one comes available.
      We too found a good one and will be leaving in a few weeks.

  41. Mike on November 20, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I will spend a lot of time organizing my “errand” day so I will hit certain grocery stores and the gas station in a certain order, in order to maximize sales and credit card points etc. Started to realize this isn’t an efficient use of time so this month I’m doing an experiment of only shopping at the one bix box grocers near me and the smaller markets down the street and will compare to see if there are overall savings on the monthly grocery bill.

  42. Ervine Patrson on November 20, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I have been reading boomer& echo for just a short time and I enjoy the timely articles. And an added plus is it is free.

  43. Dave Bober on November 20, 2017 at 9:25 am

    When my wife goes to the thrift shops, I often accompany her, and head for the used book area. Usually I walk out of the store with at least 3 or more books, but seldom find the time to read them.

  44. Paul Cameron on November 20, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Keeping my landline telephone. With cell phones, we don’t really need it anymore.

  45. Jason St-Hilaire on November 20, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I buy new PC games even though I have a dozen I haven’t played yet… “But they were on sale!” Curse you Steam 😛

    • Kevin on November 20, 2017 at 11:30 am

      My problem exactly. I’m a sucker for the $10 and under games.

  46. G. Page on November 20, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Not sure if it’s irrational but similar to the “Coupon Clipping” Moms who pay next to nothing for items on sale, we try and do the same thing. But….how much ‘stock’ of any one item do you need at home. Too many toothbrushes at the ‘store at home’ if you know what I mean 😉

  47. Raphaelle on November 20, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I keep a 17$/month subscription to SuperEcran (which is the french equivalent of HBO) because I want to watch Game of Thrones. I always tell myself that I will cancel my subscription when I am done watching the show, but then I forget and I end up keeping it for the whole year. It would be much cheaper buying the series on Blu-Ray.

  48. Oscar Quintero on November 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I usually spend a couple of hours searching the internet for deals on whatever I’m purchasing. It sucks because I could of spent a few cents more than spending two hours were I could have done something else. Time = money; money = time.

  49. Steve on November 20, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Paying bills through automatic withdrawals is a bit like automatic deposits from your paycheque into your RSP – it doesn’t hurt as much if you don’t see it happening.

  50. George on November 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Black Friday sales are coming up and I will end up spending money on electronics, especially computer components, that I don’t need. I already have my eyes on a new monitor, which I can do without! I even have items I purchased in the past which are still in their boxes unopened. This is NOT rational!

  51. The Luxe Strategist on November 20, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I heard a podcast featuring the author! My irrational spending moment:

    I tend to sign up for new credit cards with annual fees because I get blinded by the signup bonuses. What I SHOULD do is calculate if the fees are worth it relative to how much I’ll get in rewards.

  52. RM1 on November 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I save small sums at every turn, but spend very large sums on tickets to sports events! You need to save a lot of nickels, dimes, and quarters to pay for hockey tickets.

  53. Ryan Bernier on November 20, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Every time I buy a coffee at my Big Bear Convenience, I also buy a scratch ticket. I turn an 89 cent purchase into a $4 one.

  54. Kim Harvey on November 20, 2017 at 11:10 am

    The book looks awesome. as far as spending irrationally, probably chasing points is the best example.

  55. Thea on November 20, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Sometimes I online shop out of boredom.

  56. Monica Quinn on November 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I buy things for home Reno projects that have not been scheduled yet so when I finally get to doing them the plan has changed and I am stuck with items that I can no longer return

  57. Judy on November 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity to get a copy of this interesting book for FREE!
    My money spending and budgeting plan works like this: whenever I think about purchasing anything I always ask myself “Is this a want or is it a need?” If it is only a want, in most cases, I do not buy it. My irrational habit in terms of saving or spending money is letting discount coupons expire unused.

  58. shawna on November 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    The drive across town for free McDonald’s coffee!

  59. Garth M. on November 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    To quote Benjamin Franklin, a bargain is only a bargain if you need it. 🙂

  60. Rich on November 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    My wife and I love all inclusive resorts even though we don’t eat or drink a whole lot or use many of the included extras. But it feels nice to live rich for a week or two – like ordering the steak or cocktail without looking at the price.

  61. Barb Malinowski on November 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Oh, I tend to chase rewards on credit cards though I really don’t Need that many. I have to try to concentrate on only 2 or 3, accept the fact that some will never pay off for me…. The book could really inspire me!

  62. Grahame on November 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I used to spend $8 on transit to visit the library to read books that I didn’t care about when I could buy almost any book I wanted on my e reader for $15 or so.

    • John on November 20, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      I only buy my e-reader books from Kobo or Amazon when they are on sale.
      Try BookBub, they send you an email with sales everyday. Mind you I probably bought a few hundred books I normally never would have bought if I had not seen them. So I spend the money anyway I guess.

  63. Ken on November 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Hi. My worst one is starting and moving my car a few spaces to a spot with an extra $1 worth of time on the meter.

  64. Mario R on November 20, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I am certainly using all the tips I can get on savings, but with the few dollars saved, sometime it goes easily away when I purchase tools for all kind of projects. Hard to beat the spending habits.

  65. Chantale Roy on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Sometimes I would add something I don’t really need right now in my cart just to get free shipping.

  66. Taylor on November 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Chocolate. Completely irrational when it comes to chocolate. 🙂

  67. Ray on November 20, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I have often spent more time or resources to fix or build something than a manufactured product would have cost. (our disposable society at work) .

  68. dave stewart on November 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    wine is a weak spot in my wallet

  69. John on November 20, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    My wife usually sends me to the grocery store for groceries but when I need to go to Wal-Mart to pick up something, which is usually the case, I do all the groceries there as well as I cannot be bothered going to other stored for sales. I know I probably don’t save but I don’t care. Lazy I guess, but I will check single items for low prices that I care about. Canadian Tire vs. Home Depot for example, or vs. E-bay. Male thing I guess. (Just the other day I drove back to the Mark’s store just to collect my extra 20% off when the item I bought the previous day went on sale.) But these items are usually more expensive than a tub of butter. At least that is what I tell myself to justify.

  70. Jony Pearson on November 20, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I remember going home and telling my wife, and I had saved $40 because a reputable tire dealership always did the winter / summer tire exchange free of charge, if you had tires on your car that they sold. I was happy with my tire savings – however, my wife brought me down to earth: ” you haven’t saved anything until the money is in the bank. That irrationality taught me to save the $40 in the bank every time I had a tire change. Later I was able to buy a new set of tires with my “saved” money.

    I really enjoy Boomer and Echo with the enlightening posts. Thank you for what you people are doing, and helping many towards financial literacy!

  71. Frank on November 20, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    When I find a deal, I try to buy it the next day, or at least drive around the block before I part with my cash. However if the salesman says its the last one, I might make an exception.

  72. William Corbett on November 20, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    I go to Costco with a carefully prepared list but can’t resist the clothing when it’s on sale. When I get home, I discover the same item in the closet with tags still on; just above the 30 golf shirts that were on sale.

  73. Dorothy Hearty on November 20, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Comfy shoes are my vice. I keep ordering (but only sale items) from my favourite shoe company, in case it goes out of business. Even ordered the same snow boots for when the current pair wears out. I would love a comedic, insightful and entertaining personal finance read. They are hard to come by.

  74. Mick on November 20, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    I spend 84 bucks a month on level 2 stock quotes, probably don’t need it but I really like to see the market depth.

  75. VanzaBI on November 20, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve started tracking my Financial Oops & Yeses in a word doc on my computer desktop.
    Oops so far include:
    – Buying $86 make up brushes without considering this purchase before hand.
    – $30 Christmas cards from London Drugs (not used)
    – Throw out a lemon gone bad, 2 ½ containers of hummus, 1/2 container of sour cream; grapes bought on sale as they were not fresh; almost full container of feta cheese; freezer burnt chicken
    – Bought grocery items by mistake (should have read labels more carefully) –
    wrong type of almond milk, seaweed rice cakes bought by mistake –
    – $350.00 phone – cracked screen – may have been avoided if I was using a proper phone case
    – speeding ticket – $120 – shouldn’t speed!
    – Special trip to pick up elk burgers – instead of doing this on a regular trip to the city
    – Paid $13.45 in c-card interest due to missed bill payment – I always pay off bill monthly, but caught paying some interest this time as the payment was late…
    – US $$ for Garth Brooks tickets when I thought I was paying CND $$ – was still worth it!!

  76. Christina on November 20, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    I use the interest from the savings account i use to save for special assessments on eating out. My rationalization is i’m making something unpleasant more enjoyable.

  77. Bryan on November 20, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Totally guilty of driving around to look for free parking! Also guilty of scouring the internet for free book giveaways instead of checking the local library for said book. (Quick check and yes, they in fact have it!). Congrats to the future winner, but seriously, check your library to see if they carry Dan’s book if you don’t win. Good luck!

  78. Heather on November 21, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I tend to think that an item with a higher original price (but which is now on sale), is “worth more” then a comparable item at the lower price that is not on sale. I am presently shopping for a dishwasher, and have to remind myself to value the reviews of each model more than the original price. Just because a model’s original price was higher, doesn’t mean it is better!

  79. Ben on November 21, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Definitely coffee every day!

  80. Lama on November 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    My irrational spending is when I add items I don’t need to my Amazon cart in order to save the shipping fees !

  81. Russ on November 21, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    I suppose I’d be regarded as irrational with respect to our investments. The argument is that we should look at our household’s (i.e., we’re a married couple) accounts as one portfolio and be more concerned about asset location. Instead I tend to treat them (TFSAs, RRSPs, non-registered accounts) as more or less discrete buckets of money. I do temper that somewhat by tilting more toward fixed income in the RRSP and much more toward equity in the non-registered accounts, but the investments in the various accounts are not allocated for maximum tax efficiency.

  82. Dwight on November 21, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Large grocery stores and warehouse type clubs are bad for me. These are the stores that give discounts if a greater quantity of an item is purchased. This encourages purchasing more than what is needed, and over consumption. Many times the discount is not very much. Sometimes loyalty points are also offered as an additional incentive. It is too easy to purchase something just because it is on sale, not because it is actually needed. It is rare to return from the grocery store with only the items on the list that I prepared before I went!

  83. russ giles on November 21, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I am obsessive about saving/not overspending in almost every facet of everyday life, but I love collecting boxing memorabilia. Oh eBay, thou art an evil temptress!

  84. Darcy on November 22, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Impulse purchases on many trips to the grocery store even though I meal plan, go armed with a list, and insist to myself that I’ll stick to it.

  85. Martie on November 22, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I hate paying full price on anything. I do my research online and when the opportunity strikes (when I see a sale coming up or finally find a coupon or discount code), I run to the store (or online) and come out beeming. It’s completely irrational at times the amount of time I will spend on research just to save a few dollars.

  86. Russ on November 22, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Irrational – I spend too much time comparison shopping online – even for minor purchases. My time is worth more than that.

    • AnotheRuss on November 28, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      While true, if you would otherwise be spending your time on a non-value producing activity like gaming or tv-watching then at least you are getting some value for your time when finding deals, even if it seems small. It all adds up over time. Saving a buck is always worthwhile!

  87. Murray Deller on November 23, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    A trip to Canadian Tire is my downfall. I buy the sale stuff sometimes when I do not need it, but was too cheap not to buy it. Black Friday is really bad.

  88. Marilyn on November 25, 2017 at 5:06 am

    My downfall is buying things in-store because I am pressed for time or don’t like the look of the change room line-up. I figure I have more time to think about the purchase at home and take advantage of the return policy. I spend so much time in the returns area that I’m sure the CSM’s know my signature by sight.

  89. Sarah De Diego on November 25, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I hope I’m not too late.

    I don’t really have problems with spending, my problems are with excessive savings. I’m hoping that this book will still apply (I enjoyed the interview clip).

    One way that spending gets me is 2 for 1 deals or when something is really cheap (less than a dollar).

    Besos Sarah.

  90. Terry Boyd on November 27, 2017 at 11:57 am

    One of this (otherwise quite frugal) person’s money mistakes is …. every year when a well-known national brand coffee shop has their annual roll – up – the – rim event for a few weeks…….I’ll often buy one or two coffees a day during that period – and go out of my way to do so – just on the prospect (a.k.a. long shot) of “winning” a prize.
    When the event is not on, I might buy one or two coffees a week, if that.

  91. Claire Ryce on December 11, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I would love to win a copy of Dan Ariely’s book “Dollars and Sense”. I too will drive endlessly to find a cheaper parking spot and will often
    go in for competitions which I am hopeless at!!

Leave a Comment

Join More Than 10,000 Subscribers!

Sign up now and get our free e-Book- Financial Management by the Decade - plus new financial tips and money stories delivered to your inbox every week.