It’s December.  Here in the upper Midwest, that makes it “soup weather.”

And that reminds me of one of my favorite psychological experiments.  It’s probably one of the best pieces of research ever done to demonstrate the concept of mindlessness (the state of doing things on auto-pilot, without using conscious thought to guide our actions).

In 2005, Brian Wansink published an article about his experiment in which he had two groups of participants eating soup.  One group ate soup from regular bowls.  The other group ate soup from bowls that were modified to be continuously refilled through a hole in the bottom of the table.

It turned out that participants who were unknowingly eating soup from self-refilling bowls ate 73% more soup than the control group.  However, when researchers looked at the follow-up questionnaires they filled out, that group did not believe they had consumed more.

The moral of the story?  It’s easy to engage in mindless behavior.

Mindlessness runs rampant in our financial lives, as well.  Have you ever started the week with a couple of $20 bills in your wallet, and then they are gone by Wednesday and you can’t remember where you spent the money?

Are you aware of how much money you spend per month at the coffee shop, the workplace cafeteria, and your favorite fast-food restaurant?  Or would go into shock if someone did the math and showed you last month’s totals?

Where is mindless behavior hurting you financially? And what would it take to become more mindful in that area?

As usual, send your ideas!