This Reality Check Can Help You Save Big

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We've got every reason to love optimism. It can get us through the thorniest situations, not to mention keeping us cheerful when things should get us down. But rose-colored glasses might be costing us, and trading them out could be good for you in the long run.

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Researchers from the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. have just released a study about how well we think we manage our money. Overall, we tend to think we're way more financially responsible than we actually are — and why not? It makes us feel good about ourselves. But more often than not, we've got room to improve. The research team developed a questionnaire about "superfluous spending," and how many times each year we engage in it. The short survey asks simple questions, such as how many times you eat out versus cooking at home, but when respondents tallied up their own scores, they were often brought down to earth about their financial choices.

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"People around the world are not saving enough money, and we propose that one reason they under-save is because they falsely believe themselves to be financially responsible," said lead author Emily Garbinski. "[D]eflating this inflated self-view may increase saving, as people should become motivated to restore perceptions of financial responsibility."

We already know that being realistic is a far better path to wealth, and that failure really does help you come back stronger. Check in with your savings and your budget, but keep up your hopeful feelings too. Working with real facts is important, but optimism isn't entirely without value itself.

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