When it comes to spending, there are things that feel bought before we ever swiped a debit card. They are money vampires – animals that suck the life right out of you, and won’t stop even when the lights are out.
That’s because we don’t always make conscious decisions. Many of our decisions feel made on our behalf – as if we’re stuck in a dream on Elm Street that someone else is in control of. That’s what bad habits feel like; a horror movie.
That’s how money vampires survive. We keep them in the dark by paying only the minimum due. Or using an out-of-network ATM. Or paying for subscriptions we don’t use. Or eating out more than we should. Or maxing out our emergency funds like sick days we take off for when we feel good.
Best selling author Charles Duhigg; one of the world’s foremost not self-proclaimed experts on habits – explains the power of habit per researchers at MIT on his blog.
Every bad habit – in this case, money vampires – is a functional loop of cues, rewards, and routines. Consider the Infomercial Addicted Money Vampire. In this case the cue is Vince Shlomi, coming out on TV calling your “tuna” and your life “boring” – showing you a device that can cut food almost too convenient to be true. The reward? The satisfaction of your craving for neat new devices that save you time on preparing your meals. The routine? Watching enough television to offer the next cue.
For Infomercial Addicted Money Vampires, the next cue is probably something like the Pasta Express.
Bad habits don’t merely become routines. They become actual chemistry in the brain, as Duhigg wrote in Scientific American – neural places so specific that when pharmaceutical drugs target the same areas as habits (such as medications used to treat Parkinson’s), people can go from mere bad habits, to compulsively gambling. A patient was famously awarded $8.2 million for being able to successfully argue in a court of law that his medication caused him to gamble over $250,000. He wasn’t the only one.
Duhigg has a unique, easy to read (and print) chart on how to change habits – or in this case, how to slay some money vampires.
Keep those money vampires in the sunlight with good credit by contacting The Credit Repairmen at 210-520-0796