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Financial self-control strategy use: Generating personal strategies reduces spending more than learning expert strategies
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology  (IF3.603),  Pub Date : 2021-07-08, DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104189
Johanna Peetz, Mariya Davydenko

We examined the spontaneous use and effectiveness of financial self-control strategies in individuals' everyday spending. In Study 1 (N = 377), participants who listed the strategies they personally already use at intake and several times throughout a month spent an average $228 less that month than participants in a control group. In contrast, participants who were provided with strategies that have been empirically tested and published or participants who were provided with strategies identified by a separate sample of lay individuals did not spend significantly less than control participants. In Study 2 (N = 308), we replicated this finding with a more immediate measure of actual spending (added up reports on the 31 days of the month). Participants who listed the strategies they personally already use at intake and several times throughout the month spent an average $236 less that month than participants in a control group. In contrast, participants who were provided with six established strategies spent an average $50 less that month than participants in a control group, which was not significant. In Study 3 (N = 339), we found that better fit of the strategies with participants' personality and better fit with the spending situation were linked to making fewer hypothetical spending decisions. In other words, personally generated self-control strategies might be more effective at promoting goal pursuit than provided strategies because they fit the person who generates them better.