Can your brain manage multiple accounts?
If you think keeping track of multiple accounts is a headache, you're right, says Himanshu Mishra, University of Utah associate professor of marketing.
In a recent study, Mishra found that individuals who manage multiple accounts spend more compared to those who have only one account. On average, Mishra found that the difference between having one account and multiple accounts could mean spending an extra 10 percent of the total.
"When people have a single account, they have a very clear, precise idea about how much money they have and they are unable to distort the available account information to justify spending, hence they spend less and save more," Mishra says.
But while maintaining one account means you're likely to be less "fuzzy" on the total, it may not be all that practical for some people. However, these days, there are a lot of online tools like Mint.com that help you manage your money across multiple accounts and banks. But, whether those tools alleviate the fuzziness isn't entirely clear.
"Consolidating all earnings across accounts so that people have a clear idea about how much they have in total could help," Mishra says. "However, this is conjecture. We haven't empirically tested this."