Does how you eat a box of chocolates determine your will to save or spend?

If you had chocolates like this in front of you, how would you eat them?

BF would eat the whole box so he wouldn’t have to think about them.

I’d eat some and save some for later to “enjoy”.

Would you eat all your favourites first, and then pick at the rest?

Or save your favourite chocolates until the end, so you can savour them?

How about in a meal?

Do you eat off your plate what you don’t like first, or last?

Apparently, the way you eat your food, can have insights into your character, in terms of whether or not you are a saver or a spender.

People who tend to eat the worst chocolates first (wait, can there really be any “bad” chocolate? :P), are those who have high self-control and delaying tactics.

They’d rather go through the not-so-good stuff, to get to the golden riches at the end.

And vice versa.

Those who eat all the good pieces first, gratifying themselves, are left to pick through the undesirable chocolates at the end.

It may also stem from your wiring from childhood, whether you can delay gratification with self-control, or not.

BF is a hardcore saver, but he’d eat the whole box, lock stock and barrel.

Check this (cute) Marshmallow Test:

The New Yorker: The Secret of Self Control is an article all about these Marshmallow Experiments and how they turned out later in life.

[…] Carolyn [….] strongly suspects that she was able to delay gratification.

“I’ve always been really good at waiting,” Carolyn told me. “If you give me a challenge or a task, then I’m going to find a way to do it, even if it means not eating my favorite food.”

But her brother Craig, who also took part in the experiment, displayed less fortitude.

Craig, a year older than Carolyn, still remembers the torment of trying to wait. “At a certain point, it must have occurred to me that I was all by myself,” he recalls. “And so I just started taking all the candy.”

It’s the same thinking process as with saving or getting out of debt

You have to visualize the end goal, and frame it in such a way that it becomes easier to resist temptation.

For example, you can think about having a fully paid off house, a secure retirement where you don’t have to ask anyone (including your children) for money, or keep your job because of the money.

Or maybe, if you are saving money for a specific reason, you can envision yourself in Paris, sipping espresso at one of the cafes, with a scarf tied around your neck.

When [researcher Mischel] and his colleagues taught children a simple set of mental tricks—such as pretending that the candy is only a picture, surrounded by an imaginary frame—he dramatically improved their self-control. T

The kids who hadn’t been able to wait sixty seconds could now wait fifteen minutes.

You just need to find your trigger, that will ignite something inside of you to be a solid resolve.

..and by the way, intelligence has nothing to do with self-control

She found that the ability to delay gratification—eighth graders were given a choice between a dollar right away or two dollars the following week—was a far better predictor of academic performance than I.Q.

She said that her study shows that “intelligence is really important, but it’s still not as important as self-control.”

This, I already knew. I am not the smartest cookie on the block.

I’ve just learned not to eat all the cookies at once 🙂

For me, I’m someone who can delay the best for last

It’s something I’ve always done since childhood, picked up from my older brother.

We would both eat all our vegetables and all the not-so-tasty stuff, only to savour the pieces of the best stuff at the end.

The only time where I break this rule, was if I am eating with a group of people, where everyone is picking at the good stuff that is shared by all.

Then, I go for the gold.

But generally speaking, I like saving the best parts of my meal, or the best chocolates in the box for last.

So perhaps, this behaviour picked up from my sibling when I was younger, is part of the reason why I felt (and still feel) a strong need for self-control when it comes to spending.

On the one hand, I didn’t turn on this frugal switch in the past, but on the other hand, I also didn’t get into massive, crippling credit card debt because of it.


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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.