28 Jan 2021 • 3mins • Yolt

Is ‘failure to notice’ sabotaging your budget?

Woman worried about her money

Do your monthly expenses always come as a shock? Direct debits. Loan repayments. Gym memberships.

If you’re focused on saving, it can be easy to forget about recurring expenses. But failing to notice won’t stop the money leaving your account…

What is ‘failure to notice’?

Failure to notice, or ‘inattentional blindness’, is where you’re unable to see something that is fully visible, but unexpected, when your attention is focused on something else.

In behavioural science, failure to notice is used to explain all sorts of things. Like missing traffic signs or being unable to see the milk when we open the fridge. But it can also help us understand why we keep missing things on our bank statements.

Filling in the blanks

Instead of focusing on every detail, our brains tend to concentrate only on the things that are most important to us at the time. It fills in the rest based on previous information or what we expect to see.

Clever, right? Well, sort of. But filling in these gaps can wreak havoc in the wrong situation – particularly when it comes to your finances.

How might failure to notice sabotage your savings?

Here are a few scenarios where failure to notice might be stopping you from seeing the whole picture:

Scenario 1:
You’ve got two loans to pay off, but one racks up more interest than the other. You decide to pay that one off first. But after a few months of failing to look at that second loan, you forget all about it. Next thing you know, you owe far more than you would have if you’d just paid them off together.

Repayments can be tricky to keep on top of – especially if you’ve got a few different accounts. The Yolt Wallet can help you track all your outgoings easily in one place, simply upload all your accounts and you’ll get reminders whenever you have an upcoming payment.

• Scenario 2:
You pay your electricity bill manually each month. But this month you’ve been trying really hard with your budget – you’ve even managed to save more than your target. Problem is, you’ve been so focused on your savings pot, that you didn’t notice that bill come through.

Don’t let your savings pot stop you from seeing the smaller picture. If forgotten payments keep passing you by, you could find yourself in a bit of a mess. Try setting up a Yolt Budget for your bills, so you’re prepared for your monthly commitments.

• Scenario 3:
Last month you lent your friend some money from your savings. They promise to pay you back, only they don’t tell you when. One Friday you’re excited to find your balance is healthier than you thought – dinner’s on you!

What you don’t realise, is you were so focused on the total credit, that you didn’t notice the payment from your friend… Yolt reminders can help you here. Turn on notifications in your app settings so you never miss a payment coming in.

How do I overcome failure to notice?

While you can’t fix failure to notice as such, there are things you can do to help make sure expenses don’t creep up on you.

Your Yolt Wallet is ideal for keeping all your bank accounts, credit cards and investment accounts in one place. It will also help you see exactly what you’ve spent, as well as warning you about any upcoming direct debits or payments to be taken from any of your accounts.