18 Comments

    • Oh, yes. That’s a really good one. And it works the other way, too, right? I always try to set my anchors high (doctor visits, etc.), so then I’m pleasantly surprised.

  1. Oooh, interesting! I’ve definitely driven an extra 20 minutes or so to save money, for sure. It just has to be worth the extra gas and time I spent, of course. I HATE when people price things with “9” at the end. To me, it makes it seem like a much bigger sum of money. When I see all the figures, my mind immediately goes, “Nope.” Just say it’s $10, yo!

    • I think people fall into two camps: our camp…and Mr P’s. It makes me bananas. Whenever he talks about the cost of anything, I mentally round up. Sometimes, it makes for a really nice surprise when he’s actually already rounded. Then, I feel like we really got a bargain 😉

  2. Jover

    I am a self-confessed numbers geek, but it still amazes me the way some products are priced. I’ve seen, for example, a six-pack of mozzarella sticks at Arby’s priced higher per stick than a 4-pack. Same with the per-ounce price of peanut butter in a large vs. smaller container. I’m glad many grocery stores now have a sticker on the shelf showing the per-ounce price of most items, but it doesn’t seem to catch everyone’s eyes. I’ve seen brand name items sell for less than the generic/store brand, yet people probably paid more for the store brand thinking they were saving money.

    • I love reading the teeny tiny print on price tags at stores. There’s so much information that you just have to know what look for!

  3. karen

    Loss aversion and scarcity principle works on all of us. TOday, I finally opened an online savings account, what took me so long??? I have no idea, but instead of earning 50 cents per year of interest i will earn $50. Yep, took me years to figure that one out!!! Go figure!!

    • Congrats, Karen! That’s huge. I felt this really weird loyalty to our local bank, so it took me a really long time to open up an online savings with Discover. So glad I finally did!

    • I would agree, Lance! I try to be reasonable with what my time is worth. But $100 in that scenario? You had better believe I am driving for that!

  4. I would definitely drive across town to save $100. $5, not so much. The money mind games I’ve seen are like the ones Jover mentioned….different per-item prices in different quantities and different brands. It always drives me crazy that they do that. And the 9 at the end of prices is just silly.

  5. kddomingue

    My husband is the math person in our household. My daughter passed algebra with a solid A. Me? I passed high school algebra by the skin of my teeth. Both the husband and daughter made A’s in highschool and college maths yet can’t do fractions or percentages in their heads. Both have trouble doing simple addition and subtraction in their heads. So I shouldn’t be surprised that they stumble over rounding numbers UP, lol! Invariably they will take the first number in the sequence and ignore the rest. So $9.99 is $9 and $999.99 is $900…..you get the picture. My son-in-law and I marvel over these two textbook math geniuses who can’t seem to fathom simple financial math. Needless to say, the two who barely passed algebra (son-in-law barely passed either) take care of the finances in our two households, lol!

    • That is exactly what my husband does! And I will be standing there, looking at the same sticker price, thinking, “But there are more numbers!” That’s so funny how your households are split into textbook math and financial math.

  6. The percentage vs. flat dollar issue has fascinated me as well. I wrote about it at one point and found a whole bunch of experiments all finding that we think in terms of percentages when dealing with whether it is worth extra time to save money. Some of the experiments even had people making decisions back to back. They would say that they would not travel across town to save $500 on a car and then a minute later say that they would travel across town to save $50 on a suit. Even having the two scenarios laid out in front of them at the same time didn’t lead people to think straight!

  7. For me it is as much a time thing as anything else. If I have to spend hours to save the $100 I’m much less likely to do it. I sometimes buy things on Amazon that are cheaper at the store in our town because the savings is not significant compared to the time, effort and expense of going to the store.

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