The Ilocana weighs in on the Pain of Paying Behavioral Bias

The Ilocana weighs in on the Pain of Paying Behavioral Bias

Mar 31, 2021

(Click play to listen to audio version of article.)

Have you checked out the 16 behavioral biases discussed in FQ Book 2? These are:

  1. Loss Aversion
  2. Framing Effect
  3. Sunk Cost Fallacy
  4. Anchoring Effect
  5. The Price of Free
  6. Effort for Payment
  7. Ego Depletion
  8. Pain of Paying
  9. Mental Accounting
  10. Opportunity Cost Neglect
  11. Hyperbolic Discounting
  12. Availability Heuristic
  13. Illusion of Control
  14. Default Bias
  15. Endowment Effect
  16. Confirmation Bias

If you have, what was your ME (MakEmong) Score in each one of them? Which one are you most prone to? Which bias are you more Emotional Emong than Makatwirang Mak?

One of the biases that I’m a lot more Emotional Emong with is number 8, the Pain of Paying. Maybe because it’s in my genes to really feel the pain of paying. Ilocana ngarud!

The Pain of Paying principle states that purchases are more painful than others depending on some factors such as:

  1. Medium of Payment – cash vs. credit card vs. debit card
  2. Prepaid vs. Paid Frequently
  3. Paid incrementally vs. One Time Payment

In the above factors, the more salient or obvious it is, the more painful the purchase is. We feel the pain of cash more compared to credit card. Debit card is the middle ground of the two.

When we pre-pay something, we tend to dissociate the pain of paying from the purchase, allowing us to concentrate on the satisfaction of the product or service, and not think too much about the price we paid. The same is true for one-time payment versus paid incrementally.

All these are explained with examples narrated in funny stories in FQ Book 2.

Today, I wish to share one of those cute stories and it was an actual experience of mine. But before I do, let me share with you the message of the former CEO of Sun Life Financial Riza Mantaring during the launch of FQ Book 2.

If you’re wondering what Riza was referring to in her message about our wedding anniversary, it is about a story that I narrated in Chapter 13 of FQ Book 2.

The Ilocana passes on the pain

I take pride in being frugal, but I also enjoy some of the finer things in life. I like good service, a little bit of jewelry, and other forms of luxury that our family can afford. (As mentioned in FQ Book 1, the FQ Mom Guideline is “Buy luxury only if you can afford to buy 10 pieces of it!”). Still, my frugal Ilocano genes get in the way that sometimes I sound like my Papang saying, “Nagngina!” (“Too expensive!”), an illustration of his Emongness when it comes to number 4 behavioral bias, Anchoring Effect, in a story also narrated in FQ Book 2.

Because of the Pain of Paying, I sometimes don’t thoroughly enjoy treating myself to luxury. Here comes my husband to the rescue. On special occasions, he would give me gifts that he knows I want to have but just didn’t want to buy. So, even if I know that he bought it using money from our joint bank account, I would still be delighted to receive and use those wonderful expensive gifts. Why? Because he took away the Pain of Paying from me! 

On Valentine’s Day of 1989, my then boyfriend, Marvin, proposed to me during a dinner at Au Bon Vivant, specially arranged for us by his friend and restaurant owner Nina Daza Puyat. During our time, there were no big production numbers for proposals. He gave me a cute diamond ring that he bought with his own money that came in a red box with a card that said, “Will you marry me?” The OA girl in me, and because I wasn’t expecting it that soon, I said, “Can I first think about it?” I was only 24 years old and I had the mindset of getting married at 26. Besides, we had only been boyfriend/girlfriend for less than a year. But he was just very confident; that there was no trace of disappointment in his face. Good thing it wasn’t a big fad yet to record proposals then. Of course, I eventually said yes within the week.

Twenty-five years later, he tried to re-enact that Valentine dinner proposal for our Silver Wedding Anniversary. He was a bit tensed saying his tummy was acting up and had to go to the toilet a couple of times. Come dessert, the waiter came in with an attractive plate with different desserts in cute containers. Then lo and behold! One of the boxes contained the sweetest thing, another engagement ring and a card that said, “Will you marry me again?” This time the diamond was a lot bigger than the first one. It was so big that I immediately said, “Yes! Hahaha, wow ang yabang mo na, Honey!”

When I looked closely at the ring, I realized it wasn’t one piece. I said, “Oh! I thought it was one piece.” But, of course, I wasn’t disappointed at all. Then he replied, “There was actually something that big that was one piece, but I know that if I bought that, my Ilocana wife will get mad!” And guess what I said and actually felt at that time? “Nope, I won’t be mad at all! Hahaha!” 

So, you see how the Pain of Paying changes everything? Do you have similar stories to share where someone took out the pain of paying from you? I’d love to hear them.

The next time you think of what gift to give your loved one, especially if he/she is very frugal, remember this Ilocana’s story. What is that thing that he/she really wants but is just prevented from buying because of the Pain of Paying? Find out what that is then give it as a gift on a special occasion; of course, provided that you can already afford to buy 10 pieces of it!


  1. To read previous article on this subject matter, click

2. To get your copy of FQ Book 2 click

To know more about FQ Book 2, watch this short video .

3. We will resume our Kumu Show on April 8, 2021. See you again at 10:55 am for our Thursday Date!

4. How good are you with money? Do you want to know your FQ Score? Take the FQ Test and map out your 2021 FQ Plan. Scan the QR code or click the link