Behavioral economics question of the day

By Felix Salmon
July 8, 2009

For reasons which are far too boring to go into, I just bought an expensive (four-figure) item for a friend, using my credit card. He paid me back in cash, which is now burning a hole in my PayPal account. And of course I have a human tendency to want to spend that money now, even though I know a monster credit-card bill is going to be arriving in a few weeks. So the question is: how do I maximize the utility of having use of those funds until the credit-card bill is due, while minimizing the temptation to just go out and spend all that cash?

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