This Trick Will Motivate You to Reach Your Financial Goals
You’ll be more successful reaching your financial goals if you give yourself a target range rather than a single number you want to achieve. It sounds weird, but a new study shows that we’re more motivated when we have a little wiggle room in our goal.
Let’s say, for instance, that you want to save $100 a month, or put an extra $100 a month towards paying down a credit card. Rather than committing to that $100, give yourself a range of, say, $75 to $125 a month instead. Having a range is more motivating because we perceive it as being both attainable and challenging, says Maura Scott, assistant professor of marketing at Florida State University.
There are dual psychological forces underpinning our motivation to stick with a long-term goal. The harder it is to reach a goal, the more we’ll be rewarded with a feeling of satisfaction if we succeed. But it’s also more likely that we’ll fail and give up in discouragement.
“If it’s too easy it doesn’t feel like a goal; but at the same time, it needs to work within a person’s ability,” Scott says. “The nice thing about these less specific goals is they give consumers for the best of both worlds.” she says. Even if you hit the low end, you still make your goal and you won’t feel defeated. And if you get fired up enough to hit the high end of your goal range, you’ll get a greater feeling of accomplishment.
Don’t use a range as an excuse to lowball your expectations, however. Making a goal too easy backfires. In her experiments, Scott found that achieving something that takes hardly any effort at all is as de-motivating as having a goal that’s impossibly high.
“What we found is in both of those cases it’s just not very motivating. In one case you’re not pushing yourself, and in the other, even if you’re pushing yourself, you’re not reaching it,” she says.
Failure is de-motivating, but a range gives you an aspirational target without the pressure or, if you don’t hit the high end, a deflating sense of failure. Giving yourself the option of a challenge also taps into the psychological concept of our “ideal self,” Scott says. A goal that’s realistic but a real stretch gives you “permission” to imagine how you’d like to be — debt-free, a good saver, etc. “When you focus goals to a single number, you’re kind of restricted.”
The idea of setting a high-low range works for other goals, too, such as losing weight.
Of course, this isn’t the only way we can “trick” our minds into being more financially responsible. A 2011 study out of the University of Minnesota found that just thinking about money can curb a tendency to spend, not because it gets us thinking about our bank account or debt balances, but because it reminds us of our autonomy. This feeling of independence acts as a buffer against outside influences like salespeople.
A study out of Northwestern University last year found that it’s more motivating to pay off smaller debts first, even though it makes more sense mathematically to pay down balances with higher interest rates first.
On the surface, spending and saving seems to be all about numbers, but digging a little deeper shows that this isn’t the case. The Northwestern study’s lead author David Gal calls this “the human element in this aspect of personal finance.”
'If someone has your bank account details, it increases the risk of fraud against you.'
Safe ways to get paid
The Metropolitan Police recommend escrow services provided by FCA authorised firms as a useful method to pay and be paid for these type of transactions.
Escrow is the only method where both a buyer and a seller can be fully 100% protected simultaneously in a transaction.
With escrow services now provided in the UK by FCA authorised firms from 57 pence per party per transaction, selling on Facebook with payment via escrow is compelling.
The buyer is guaranteed through escrow to receive the goods promised, or their money back.
The seller is guaranteed to be paid 100%.
Community Based Listings
Craigslist is huge—not just for selling stuff, but for listings of all types. It's all but replaced the classified pages in most major cities around the world, and you can find listings for everything from apartments to parking spaces to clothes to baby goods—all specific to your community and at a wide range of prices. Craigslist's user base is absolutely massive, and many people turn to it first when they're looking to sell something just because just about everyone uses it for something or another—especially bargain hunting. Best of all, since Craigslist is essentially just a big classified site, there are no fees for listing your items, no middleman charging you to list or host photos, and no one in between you and the seller—which can be a good or a bad thing.
Of course, its efficacy is up in the air as well—any service as large as Craigslist draws in a wide array of users, and many of you noted that the site brings out all of the lowball offers, weirdos who show up to make a sale but then try to weasel out of the deal or try and get you to take less than they promised, or other strange scenario—not to mention the safety issue. We have a guide to selling on Craigslist without getting screwed that specifically tackles all of these issues. In its nomination thread, many of you noted that Craigslist is great, but there's no accountability whatsoever by the site for anything that happens through the site, but at the same time its huge user base and community-based pages make it easy to offload even things like appliances and other large goods you can't ship and would rather have your buyer come pick up
Swappa focuses almost exclusively on smartphones and tablets of all types, and has a huge userbase of people both selling and buying devices in good, workable condition. Selling a used phone on Swappa is super-easy, and only requires that you verify your account, take some pictures of the device, post your listing, and get it approved by the Swappa staff. Swappa only deals in clean devices as long as you buy from a trustworthy, verified seller, so you don't have to worry that the phone you buy is stolen or won't be able to be activated. Buyers get the satisfaction of knowing that the phone or tablet they get is in good working order at a great price, and the sale is never closed until the buyer has the item in hand, inspected it, made sure it works and activates, and they're good to go. Swappa also handles things like payment and dispute resolution, which makes it a pretty good platform for buyers and sellers.
Of course, Swappa isn't perfect either. Their fees are lower than sites like eBay, which is great, and they have a large user base of people who are looking for great deals on phones—along with tons of protections for both buyers and sellers—but there are tons of people on the site with sketchy lowball offers and people selling dozens of the same phone who look like they may have lifted them from a warehouse or something.
Amazon isn't just a juggernaut when it comes to buying things, it's a great place to sell them as well. Part of what makes Amazon such an attractive place to sell your stuff is that your used stuff goes right up for sale next to the new versions of the same products—so anyone shopping for, say, a Nintendo 3DS, will see your offer under "New and Used" right next to the price for the same item new. If they're interested in saving a few bucks, it's one click before they see the one you have for sale—and considering how many people browse Amazon for just about anything, that's a huge potential audience.
Plus, listing your item is super easy, even if you don't sign up for Amazon's fulfillment program. You list it, wait for it to sell, then ship. If you really want, you can send all your junk to Amazon, let them list it for you, then handle the shipping and customer service after it sells.
All that said, Amazon isn't a panacea, and just as many of you called that out in the nominations thread as people who praised it for its ease and fast selling. For one, if your item sits in Amazon's warehouses too long, you'll pay fees on it. Amazon also takes a big chunk out of your sale price, and other prices severely limit how much you can make on your used stuff.
Plus, Amazon's shipping credits are never enough to really ship an item, so you wind up losing some money either way. Still, others of you highlighted Amazon's direct buy-back program, where they'll just buy your stuff from you straight away, and their free shipping in their fulfillment program—so you can send your used stuff to sell free of charge.
Sell Your Used Stuff for Cash on Facebook for Hassle-Free, No-Fee Decluttering
One gold mine that's often overlooked by sellers is the one that millions of people use every day: Facebook.
Of course, you can use Facebook to pitch your unwanted stuff to the friends and family members that you're already Facebook friends with, but that limits your audience significantly when compared to a site like Craigslist or Amazon Marketplace. Instead, look for Facebook sale groups in your area (just search for your state or region and the word "sell" or "buy" to find local buy/sell/trade groups. If there are none, you can always start one and get the word out in your community!) and join them. From there you can shop from people in your area, list your own items for sale, and set your own prices. You can even note whether you're willing to ship something, or—in the case of furniture or large electronics or appliances—whether you'd rather the buyer come pick it up.
The big benefit of using Facebook like this is that you set your price and there's no one taking a cut of your sale price or charging you to host your listing. You can set your own preferred method of payment, and you also have the opportunity to become part of a community where people are looking for bargains as much as others are looking to declutter their homes. Many of the groups are closed, so you'll have to ask permission to join, and others only accept certain types of listings, so make sure you read up on the group you want to join and their rules. Many have strict listing requirements and limits on how many items you can try to sell per day in order to stave off spammers and scam artists.
A number of you mentioned local Facebook groups when we talked about other ways to sell your stuff, and if you'd rather have a more personal approach to buying and selling—or you just want a new audience to reach out to beyond the same old Craigslist posts, they're definitely worth a try.
How To Make Money Selling Your Crap
The truth is, you may be sitting on a pile of cash you just never realised, and that cash can be better spent on resolving your debt problems.
You also get the bonus of a more organised home. The only real skill involved in turning your trash to cash is making a concerted effort to get started.
Start Right Now
To make the processes relatively easy to start, set an empty box in most rooms of your home. When you come across an item you no longer have a need for, toss it in the box. This will prevent you from delaying the process because you are short on time during the work week and over the weekends. When the boxes start to fill up, take time to sort through the belongings and decide where to go to turn it into cash while you chill out in front of the TV or listen to your favourite music.
There are quite a few options for your items to be sold or traded. Between the Internet and local connections, you should test out several items to find what works best for you.
Here are a few choices to get you started:
Pawn Shops – This is a great choice for items that have value and are still in good condition. Jewellery and quality clothing can be turned into cash through pawn shops instantly.
Craigslist/eBay – These websites are a good choice for items that hold value as collectibles or hard to find items. Beware of the dangers of meeting with people in person through Craigslist postings (go with a friend and if you get a weird vibe throughout any of the interactions then be sure to trust your gut), and consider the sometimes substantial costs for mailing eBay items.
Garage/Yard Sales – Like Car-boot sales, only this time in your own front yard. If you have the space and the time, you can set up your own sale at home. Offload your items for a considerable discount to get rid of the clutter. You may not make a ton of cash with such drastic discounts but it can certainly be a fun way to earn some money to get that debt paid off or to put some additional funds into savings. Get friends and neighbours involved in the event planning and make a weekend of it.
Thrift Stores – After the yard sale is done and you still have a few boxes of stuff leftover, now is a good time to visit the local thrift store or Salvation Army. You can donate your belongings including clothes and housewares for others in need. Get a receipt of an estimated donation amount to be used for a tax deduction at the end of the year.
Swaps/Barters – There may be local places or online portals where you can trade your items in for something else that may be of use to you.
This is not meant to give you a license to gather more junk but meant to help you remain frugal by getting things you actually need without spending any money. Swaps are fun to do with books, baby gear, craft supplies, accessories you name it! Swaps are a really fun way to get new-to-you items without spending a dime.
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