spend less money

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Whip Out Your Pics, Not Your Wallet
Reach into your bag for the photo you keep of the college your daughter wants to attend someday—or the Japanese-style cedar-walled bathroom you'll build when she moves out. Anything, as long as it's a visual reminder of your commitment to a big-picture goal. Researchers at the Universities of Toronto and Virginia found that when people kept a photo of their kids tucked away with cash that was earmarked for savings, they were significantly less likely to spend the money.

Bonus: For perhaps the ultimate visual nudge, visit Merrill Lynch's "Face Retirement" page, and upload a photo of yourself. Designed to inspire us to save money for our future selves, the app ages your face so you can see how you'll look at 70 and beyond (up to age 107). Research finds that when people see digital renderings of themselves as old people they're likelier to pass on immediate rewards and allocate more resources to savings (or future spa treatments).