Money exists in a blind spot for many people. We either don’t have a single view of it all, or we choose to ignore it. 22seven user Lexi found that by removing the blind spot she could take the first steps toward understanding her money and facing up to the realities of where it was going. However, there is another form of money blindness to look out for. So to speak. Behavioural scientists have found that we all have areas of our lives where we subconsciously turn a blind eye on our spending, and there is a very effective way to tackle this.

‘Money blindness’ is a term used by gamblers to describe how the value of money varies in our perception based on the situation we find ourselves in. People in casinos often attach a different value model to the money they’re burning through. You might be careful to not recklessly spend R500 when it’s in the form of cash in your wallet, but are less careful when swiping your credit card for a R500 item of clothing, as a non-gambling example.

Studies have also shown that money blindness varies from person to person. Some people are able to control their spending on grocery shopping, for example, but struggle to control what they spend on clothing, or nights out with friends.

Whatever your challenges with money blindness are, the solution is the same for everyone – awareness of your spending habits drives a change in behaviour. When you hold a mirror up to your spending it’s impossible to ignore the problems. You can’t change something you can’t see.

When you hold a mirror up to your spending it is impossible to ignore the problems. You can’t change something you can’t see.

Abraham Maslow – the famous American psychologist who is known for ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ – spent his life studying human behaviour and the things that drive our decisions. He put it quite simply: “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”

In the video below Lexi explains how starting to take a look at her spending behaviour made it obvious where things were going wrong and empowered her to change her behaviour.

When you see your own behaviour laid bare there is no escaping from facts, whereas its easy to ignore things that aren’t constantly in your frame of view.

It’s something you need to stick to.

The world makes it easy for us to swipe and forget. To focus impulsively on what we want now while losing sight of what it would really mean to the rest of our lives. When you take the steps to encourage mindfulness of your money and a view of the impact of your behaviour, however, the problem almost seems to just go away. It’s something you need to stick to, but it doesn’t have to be hard work. The first step is taking a look at what’s really going on.