Music for your many money moods
Music can affect our financial behavior, so don't take Lady Gaga shopping at Macy's. She could be helpful at Kroger.
We all know about the importance of the right music for workouts, the best music for a romantic evening and maybe even the most effective music to lull the baby (or yourself) to sleep. But who knew that music can make a difference in your financial life?
Numerous studies have linked music to spending behavior, writes Gina Roberts-Grey at CreditCards.com. “In fact, the kinds of music you listen to can impact your opinion of your finances, the likelihood you'll blow your budget at the grocery store and your approach to balancing your checkbook or paying credit card bills.”
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So what kind of music is best for various times in one’s financial life?
Gina offered these suggestions:
- Choosing how to allocate your 401k investments: Think up-tempo, rock ‘n’ roll or hip-hop, with a heart-thumping beat of 125 to 130 beats per minute, such as Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll."
- Making a budget and talking to your significant other about money: The best music is something soft, but not too slow, along the lines of “Let It Be" by the Beatles -- though you should not take that as license to let your worst financial habits be. We leave it to you to decide whether “I Love You Just the Way You Are” is appropriate, right tempo or not.
- Grocery shopping: Don’t go hungry and don’t listen to classical or instrumental music. Fast, motivating songs are what you need to get in and get out and stick to your budget. Think “Poker Face" by Lady Gaga.
- Balancing your checkbook: This calls for some musical balance, not too fast and not too slow. Avoid songs that make you sad or remind you of past mistakes. You want to like this chore, not avoid it the next time. Gina suggests Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me."
- Department store shopping: If you like the music, you may stay longer, buy more and/or -- gasp -- apply for a store credit card. Bring along your own tunes, something slow and instrumental, so you won’t be distracted from the task at hand. How about Beethoven’s "Moonlight Sonata"?
- Bing: Songs about money
From “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” to Madonna’s “Material Girl,” numerous songs have taken up the subject of money, so we weren’t surprised to find a few other financial playlists.
For the November Festival of Frugality at Cheap Healthy Good, Kris matched each post with an appropriate song. Feeling philosophical? You can read Provident Planning on “What is contentment?” while listening to REM and the Muppets perform “Furry Happy Monsters” to the tune of “Shiny Happy People.” Kris also links to YouTube videos of her musical selections.
Jay MacDonald at Bankrate.com came up with a list of six songs to see us through the recession, using his post to also remind us of some of the songs that saw Americans through such events as the American Revolution (“Yankee Doodle”) and the Depression (“Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries”). We’re not sure Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is the best recession advice, but KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” seems appropriate.
Over at Kiplinger’s Starting Out blog, contributing editor Erin Burt created her own “Soundtrack to Riches,” picking 10 songs about money that she thinks offer wisdom and inspiration. You can’t beat Kenny Rogers’ advice from “The Gambler”: “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” Or the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
What’s the playlist of your financial life? Or what would you like it to be? What are some of your favorite songs about money? Or songs that inspire you to lead a more responsible financial life?
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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