Smart SpendingSmart Spending

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.

By Teresa Mears Feb 17, 2010 3:57PM

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 “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.”

Who knew?


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"?

You can see Gina’s other musical suggestions, with links to YouTube videos, in her post at

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 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?


Related reading:

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.