Feel out of control? These money moves can help

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely and his colleagues at Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight have a pact. Every week, the group of 50 people picks one small business in Durham, North Carolina, and each person spends $100 there.

A one-time $5,000 infusion wouldn’t make a difference to Amazon, Costco or any other large retailer, but it could be enough to keep a local business afloat, Ariely says. Taking this action helps the group feel that they’re making a difference when so much of the world seems out of control.

“This is, to a large degree, a crisis of Main Street,” says Ariely, the bestselling author of books including “Predictably Irrational.” “We’re taking a retailer and we’re saying, ‘We’re giving you a little bit of breathing room.’”

In my latest for the Associated Press, how to wrest back control from the unpredictability of the pandemic.

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