Nothing Good Happens After 6pm

Happy almost-holidays, everyone!!!

Came across an interesting article on how stupid we can get with our money at night, and wanted to hurry up and pass it over to help save your wallet in the new year ;)

Here’s the post –> The Scientific Reason You Shouldn’t Make a Money Decision After 6pm

And then here’s a clip from it mentioning a new study that came out around this “decision fatigue”:

A new study reveals how this phenomenon can affect our financial lives. The authors discovered that participants who engaged in challenging cognitive tasks experienced mental fatigue that “enhanced the propensity to make impulsive [economic] choices [and] favor immediate rewards.” Translation: After spending hours churning away at work, we’re more likely to binge shop online, “overspend when going out late at night or take short-cuts when completing tax returns.”

Sounds about right! Ain’t nobody wants to use their brain come evening-time! We got hanging out to do and beers to down! Which incidentally can also impair our financial decisions, haha…

So basically, MAKE SURE TO HIDE YOUR WALLET after sundown! And also perhaps your COMPUTERS and iPHONES and literally EVERY OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICE in your home because pretty much *everything* is designed to take away all your hard-earned money…

Or you can just go right to bed, which is the only time you’re guaranteed not to spend a thing :)

Reminds me of another time-related quip I’ve heard, this time from a best friend’s father growing up and probably millions of others too: “Nothing good happens after midnight with your friends!” Haha… Also something very much true, but good luck trying to convince teens of that! As everyone knows midnight’s when the fun just gets started!

But you can still do things to protect yourself from… yourself. Especially around money.

Here are a couple ideas from Acorns who published that article above, and then a favorite from me which has done wonders over the years:

  1. Automate more! Not surprising Acorns had this listed in the #1 slot since that’s what they’re app is all about (they help people invest more by rounding up their spare change, saving me over $600 myself!), but regardless it’s a well known and super helpful thing to do. Technology these days makes it super easy to save or invest/pay off debt/etc these days without even having to think about it, and the more you can separate yourself from your (troublesome) emotions the better. Here’s a list of 14 other apps and services that have been making a splash on the scene lately as well.
  2. Implement “money parameters.” Try giving yourself a max spending limit each day, or even max limits *per item!* Say, you’re never allowed to spend more than $50 on something without doing XYZ first… like getting permission from your wife ;) That way even if you ARE tempted to do a little splurging, at least there’s some sort of blockade there slowing you down a bit.
  3. And lastly, take action on financial-related tasks only when *you’re in the mood.* This is one of my all-time favorite tips because just like anything, you tend to produce much better work when you’re energized and really feel like DOING THE THING vs when you aren’t. And another nice side effect is that you accomplish it in half the time as well – boom! Pretty magical stuff, at least for the things you have power over.

So we may not be able to control ourselves when it comes to the darkness, but we sure can during the day time! And thankfully there are many more awake hours in that half of the day than there are in the other, haha…

We’ll see you back here after the holidays with even more Pulitzer Prize-winning posts! Hope Santa brings you everything you want!! :)

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  1. Mustard Seed Money December 22, 2017 at 6:00 AM

    Hahahaha…I love it. I am fried by the time I get back from work from all the decisions/micro-decisions that I have to make along the day. Unfortunately, I still have to make decisions and sometimes money decisions at night. But hopefully I can minimize that moving forward :)

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 7:23 AM

      If it helps, you can just give *me* your wallet come night and I’ll help “protect” it for you? :)

  2. Ms99to1percent December 22, 2017 at 6:14 AM

    It’s so true, especially if young or single and going out to happy hour every day. Those $12*3 drinks, $50 food and $30 Uber that’s about $120/day. That’s how you end up living paycheque to paycheque.

  3. Nicole @ Budget Like a Lady December 22, 2017 at 6:17 AM

    I completely agree with this. After a day at the office, cooking dinner, and getting the kids in bed, I am too exhausted to make any “real” decisions. Plus I am an engineer and deal with numbers all day, I don’t want to deal with any more “numbers” when I get home. Lol! Automating is awesome!

  4. fin$avvy panda @ December 22, 2017 at 6:39 AM

    Hey J money! Nice article!

    I totally agree w it. I tend to make poor decisions when I’m super tired. Especially after 7pm after work when I’m super hungry, I hate deciding what to eat! I can see why that leads to people making poor financial decisions (and probably unhealthy ones too).

    I love how the article mentioned about Mark Zuckerberg’s uniform routine — less decisions on what to wear… another brain juice killer haha

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 7:26 AM

      Oh yeah! That “work uniform” is a popular one it seems – pops up anytime I read about productivity hacks :) And your super hungry comment reminds me that the evenings are also the worst time to go grocery shopping too!!! You pick all kinds of dumb stuff up when you’re starving, haha… I won’t ever make that mistake again.

  5. Brian December 22, 2017 at 6:59 AM

    Spending opportunities can be limited when working a tradition 9 to 5, and many may want to relieve the stress of the day with some binge shopping. Not a good idea if you don’t have the cash or don’t need any of the crap.

    Wishing the J$ family a very Merry Chrismas and Happy New Year!

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 7:28 AM

      Yup! Although it’s still smart to budget *something* for splurging so you don’t burn out and/or give up! I used to have a $50/mo “do whatever the hell you want with” fund for these exact instances… you feel much less guilt when it’s pre-approved, even if it’s being spent recklessly :)

  6. Cubert December 22, 2017 at 7:02 AM

    I had no idea. But it makes sense. After work, we’re exhausted and barely have the energy to get to the gym, much less cook a meal. So look, there’s Joe’s Bar and Grill! And we’ll just have one beer, but it turns into two, cuz it’s Thursday (Generation X’s Friday I of II)

    Having kids helps cure you of this particular “after 6” habit at least.

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 7:30 AM

      Ain’t that the truth, haha… I only go out like once a month now past sunset!

      1. Hans December 26, 2017 at 3:25 AM

        If I go out after sunset, it’s usually to pick up the kids from somewhere. ;-)

    2. OMGF December 22, 2017 at 7:58 AM

      Turning 30 cured me.

  7. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance December 22, 2017 at 7:05 AM

    I Donno. I’m a natural saver. Give me a spending decision at night and I’ll default to no. I get in trouble when it’s a limited time deal. I’m a sucker for some of those.

  8. Mr. Tako December 22, 2017 at 7:19 AM

    Thank goodness the stock market isn’t open after 6pm, or I might be in trouble!

    Great post!

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 7:33 AM

      Yeah you would be! Haha…

  9. Leo T. Ly December 22, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    I like the idea of doing things that motivate me first. When I feel that I just couldn’t bring myself to the tasks that I must do, I start with the tasks that I wanted to do to give myself an energy and motivation boost.

    I may be delaying the important tasks, but it better late than never. Another way is to start with easy and small tasks to get the momentum going. Nothing is more motivating than being able to cross off the small tasks on your to do list.

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:35 PM

      Yup yup – that also works well!! I find washing the dishes or making my bed is always a way to get started too and doesn’t require any brain work whatsoever :)

  10. Mrs. Groovy December 22, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    My optimal but limited period for positive brain activity has always been from 9am to 3pm. After all these years I’m still on kindergarten schedule! But at least it’s good for the wallet.

  11. MK December 22, 2017 at 7:58 AM

    Being in the right mood to do financial stuff is so true!! I work in finance and after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is anything financial! Not only am I not at my best for tackling the bills, budget, etc., but I get cranky so it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone. Having a clear head makes a world of difference!

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:36 PM

      Haha yup!

      What kind of financial stuff do you do for a living?

  12. OMGF December 22, 2017 at 8:02 AM

    If I waited for motivation I’d never get anything done. I have to get started before inspiration actually hits. My motivation catches up to my actions.

    As for spending after 6pm,this totally explains my Grubhub habit.

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:39 PM

      You know how to curb that?

      Brush your teeth super early in the evening :)

      Any time you go to grab something to eat you’ll be reminded that you have to brush your teeth all over again, and you’ll be much less tempted to eat something, haha…

      At least that works for me. Been doing it for about a year now – it’s amazing.

      1. OMGF December 24, 2017 at 9:46 AM

        Hmm, that’s great advice. I’m gonna try that.

  13. Accidental FIRE December 22, 2017 at 8:19 AM

    My best buddy is a big skiier and used to sometimes stay up late buying all kinds of ski memorabilia on Ebay back when it was a relatively new website. Of course a few glasses of bourbon were always involved. Then days later he’d get stuff delivered to his door and he’d be scratching his head saying “hmmm, did I order this?”

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:40 PM

      Haha… those are some pretty expensive splurges too!

  14. Mike @ Balanced Dividends December 22, 2017 at 8:23 AM

    This is a very timely post to what we just explored regarding the Tax Reform, and where we discussed using the 10 heuristics of user interface (UI) to build your own PFUI. Sounds so deep, right!?

    The three points the study listed are very helpful. Another suggestion (this can vary obviously based on one’s lifestyle / schedule, etc.):

    Schedule your workouts at or after 6:00pm. Hit up some OTF at 7:00pm and burn those calories – not those dollars. Additionally, you’ll avoid the double damage: you’ll workout / exercise AND likely eat healthier afterward. Otherwise, you might skip that workout and “reward” yourself with 3 beers for a hard day at the office. I’m guilty of this often :(

    Also glad to see that you’re reading about Acorns, J – I’ve enjoyed the back-and-forth :)

    Overall, great points here!

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:42 PM

      Thanks! Smart move w/ the working out parts too! Will wake you up enough to continue the productivity as well for the after hours :)

  15. BusyMom December 22, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    I know that I spend more in the evenings, but can’t seem to remember that once it is actually evening!

  16. Joe December 22, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    I’ve never heard of this. Not really our behavior since we don’t shop online very often.

  17. Kendall @ Perfect Cents Living December 22, 2017 at 9:59 AM

    Ha! When I saw the title of this post in my email this morning it totally reminded me of my teenage years when all the parents would try to convince us that nothing good ever happened after midnight. “yeah, yeah…”

    During this last year, I’ve implemented the money parameters suggestion and it works great for me! I give myself a spending limit that I like to call my “Blow Money”. Definitely not used for cocaine (lol!) but rather I get to blow this money on whatever I want and when it’s gone, it’s gone until the next time I get paid. It forces me to think about what I spend my money on instead of just pissing it away during one of those bad financial decision moments. :)

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:43 PM

      YES!! EXACTLY!!! So smart…. and it’s amazing how much stress it relieves too for not that much money!

  18. Steve @ Think Save Retire December 22, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    This might explain why I’m a morning person rather than a night owl. Nothing good happens after 6pm, so you might as well go to bed and strike in the morning while the iron is hot! ;)

  19. Lily | The Frugal Gene December 22, 2017 at 11:18 AM

    Ohhh but happy hour menus are what I live for – how could they possibly lead me astray?!

    Oh wait..

    Happy holidays J$!! Have lots of fun with your fam bam!

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:45 PM

      You too friend :)

  20. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto December 22, 2017 at 11:19 AM

    You’ve won a Pulitzer?

    Merry Christmas, J$! I’m happy for the direction you’re taking in your life for 2018!

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:45 PM

      Did I say Pulitzer? I meant to write Putz-litzer ;)

  21. Myfinancekits December 22, 2017 at 2:03 PM

    Hi J. Money. Pardon me if this comment is somehow off the topic. I pondered on the sales of Rockstar Finance you sealed recently. I cannot but congratulate you on the legacy you have left for all personal finance bloggers. I may not have enough space here for all I want to say, but you can find the details from the link below. Congratulations!

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 3:52 PM

      Just read it :) Thanks so much for the kind words! Left you a nice little comment on it. Thanks for finally introducing yourself!

      1. Myfinancekits December 23, 2017 at 7:07 AM

        Thanks for the words of motivation in the comment. I really appreciate you. God bless

  22. Sean December 24, 2017 at 10:05 PM

    Great post! I feel like after hours can be tough on your wallet due to just simply being bored. There are definitely times I have gotten home from work and surf the web, seeing Amazon/Nike/Best Buy Ads all over, and just because I am lounging around I feel like I need those items then…I am still not completely sure why this happens, but your post hits it on the head!

    Happy Holidays, and I look forward to your future posts!

    1. J. Money December 26, 2017 at 7:17 AM

      Thanks! Very nice to e-meet you, sir!

  23. ZJ Thorne December 26, 2017 at 9:36 PM

    Turning the computer off after a long day of decision-making has definitely helped me avert a buy I did not quite need. 6 pm is a little early for me, but…

    1. J. Money December 27, 2017 at 7:12 AM

      Good job! Computers/phones these days def. make it harder to avert than back in the day… It’s super easy not to drive somewhere to buy something, but now that you can shop IN BED it’s all kinds of tempting! Haha…

      Which is another rule of mine actually – no phones/computers in bed :)