After a long day at work, approving files and authorizing projects, you only want to come home, order takeout, and unwind before you have to do it all again. What seems like a simple wish can turn into a challenge; your partner wants to go out to eat, and each of your kids wants to order a different dish from a different online takeout app.
After humming and hawing for what feels like an eternity, you break down and say something like, “I don’t care,” or “whatever you want,” just to get it over with. And sure, this speeds up the decision-making process, but sometimes it leaves you with something you don’t want or something that’s out of your budget.
If this sounds familiar, then you’ve experienced decision fatigue. It can happen to anyone who’s made too many decisions in a row, and it could be the reason why you’re spending too much money.
What Is Decision Fatigue?
If you’ve ever heard about the energy rationing chronically ill people have to make, decision fatigue is very similar to the Spoon Theory. According to this theory, ill people (or Spoonies) have a finite number of spoons to use throughout the day. Each activity—from common household chores to social events—require these people to use up a spoon or more. Once they run out of spoons, they don’t have the energy to take on a new activity until they can rest, recharge, and collect more spoons.
Decisions, like spoons, are a finite commodity. Everyone, from the healthy to chronically ill, can only make so many before they’re overwhelmed and stop making logical choices based on their needs and abilities. Rather, choice-fatigued individuals will pick anything just to get the task over with, even if the decision ends up not working.
Decision Fatigue Leaves Your Budget Exhausted
Famously, Steve Jobs wore the same black turtleneck every day to cut down the number of decisions he had to make in a day. His outfit remained the same, so he could focusmore energy towards choices affecting Apple.
Not all decisions are about coordinating your wardrobe. The average person makes roughly 35,000 decisions each day, ranging from the route they take to work to the type of juice they buy in the grocery store.
Let’s focus on that trip to the grocery store. If you wait until the end of the day to shop, you could be experiencing decision fatigue in the following ways:
- You don’t have the energy to figure out if the bulk tub of margarine is technically cheaper per ounce than the smaller tub.
- You don’t shop logically through the produce section, so you end up buying things that look good instead of what’s in season.
- You don’t have the willpower to resist putting snacks or candy in your cart.
- You don’t want to compare brands for the best price, so you reach for the most familiar, expensive option.
All these small decisions add up. You could wind up spending more on groceries just because you didn’t want to think about your choices. Some people end up blowing their budget on things like groceries, leaving them without cash for their remaining bills. Many of them end up using payday loans to bridge the gap.
Online lenders like MoneyKey offer short term loans that work quickly and effectively for momentary emergencies like these. They’re not a permanent solution to financial issues, especially if you routinely find yourself short for important bills and repairs. They’re also not meant to boost your grocery budgetjust so youcan add gourmet items to your cart. To find out more about when it’s appropriate to use these loans in your budget, click here and learn about the benefits of payday loans.
How Do You Minimize Decision Fatigue?
If you think decision fatigue has an influence on your budget, here are some ways to protect your wallet from this issue:
- Prioritizing important choices:If you know you’re going to make an important decision about your finances, schedule your day so it’s one of the first things you do. Try to book a meeting with the bank when they first open, spend a Sunday morning creating a grocery list and meal plan, squeeze in grocery shopping in the morning before work, or start your holiday shopping on a weekend morning.
- Eliminate unnecessary choices: Arranging your life so you don’t have to make as many decisions is one of the most direct ways of defeating decision fatigue. Steve Job’s closet of black turtlenecks is a prime example of this technique. You can do the same by eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day or taking the same walking route to work.
- Be self-aware: Sometimes, simply realizing you’re making bad decisions because you’re tired is enough to help you snap out of it. By paying attention to your habits, you can decide whether you can power through this fatigue or you need to reschedule important decisions to a time when you’re feeling more in control.
Though not perfect, self-awareness and an organized schedule can help you reduce how your fatigue affects your decision making. These tips can help you realize when you’re making bad choices just because you don’t want to make anymore decisions. The more you think about this issue, the better you’ll get at identifying situations and triggers that make this issue worse. And the more you can avoid these, the better you’ll be able to make smart decisions.
Try it out the next time you start your day. It might save you some serious cash.