MONEY Kids and Money

The Hidden Downside to Rewarding Your Kids for Good Behavior

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Alamy

Giving your kids treats for getting an A at school or doing chores can come with surprising consequences, a new study suggests.

Next time you want to show your children you’re pleased with their perfect report card or good behavior, skip the visit to the toy shop.

Though your intention might be to reinforce responsible or thoughtful actions, new research suggests that providing treats like money, toys, or sweets can backfire on parents. A study published Wednesday in the Journal of Consumer Research found that children who receive more material rewards grow up to be more, well, materialistic.

“Parents don’t want their children to use possessions to define their self-worth or judge others, yet loving and supportive parents can also use material goods to express their love, paving the way for their children to grow up to be more likely than others to admire people with expensive possessions,” said authors Marsha Richins of the University of Missouri and Lan Nguyen Chaplin of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

By using possessions to reward—or, on the flip side, punish—children, parents may be setting the stage for long-term overconsumption, the study found. Children raised in households where acts of discipline involved giving or taking away belongings were more likely to continue rewarding and defining themselves with material things. They also grew up to admire people with expensive possessions and judge people based on what they own.

If that doesn’t sound bad enough, materialism in adulthood has also been linked to reduced feelings of well-being, marital problems, and financial difficulties, the authors noted.

Of course, many parents might wonder what they can do to reinforce good behavior without using material rewards. While the authors caution that using experiential rewards (say, a trip to Disneyland) can also make kids more materialistic, teaching your children to be grateful can mitigate the negative effects of any rewards you provide.

“One viable strategy might be to encourage gratitude in children—reward children, but also teach and encourage them to be thankful for the people and things in their lives,” they wrote. “Gratitude has been found to increase the value placed on connections to people, mindful growth, and social capital.”

For help walking the fine line between giving your child too much and giving them just enough, see how first-time dad and MONEY writer Taylor Tepper learned the secrets to not spoiling his child.

MONEY

How Social Media Sites Are Making You Spend More

Furry Money Pet
Alamy

Social media provides the opportunity to connect with people and gain inspiration from them. It can also lead us to find many ways to break our budgets.

When I ran a Facebook ad recently for a nonprofit where I volunteer, I was surprised how specific you could get in targeting potential customers.

If I wanted to advertise the event I was promoting to women between the ages of 24 and 26 in my city who were unmarried and educated, who watched Girls, owned a dog and liked designer purses — I could do that.

Being able to target ads to a specific market can help a seller reach the people who want or need their products and services. Unfortunately, that means buyers may also be encouraged to spend more than they should if they’re not mindful.

There are many ways that we spend money or time that we didn’t before social media — ad targeting is just one of the potential spending traps we can fall into. We may also feel pressure to keep up with the social media images of our peers. Add to that the aspirational nature of sites like Pinterest, and it’s safe to say that one can encounter many budget-breaking temptations by spending time on social media.

Your Inspiration Station

Pinterest might be the perfect place to score a killer recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins or instructions for how to DIY a fabric headboard, but it is also the biggest tempter when it comes to making us spend. According to RichRelevance, an e-commerce consultant, Pinterest shoppers will spend an average of $170 per session whereas Facebook shoppers only spend $95 per session and Twitter shoppers spend just $70 per session.

So while some people use the site to find fun DIY projects that are cheap or repurpose other items, they might not necessarily be coming out ahead, either. The downside comes if they choose to spend money on projects they hadn’t budgeted for. So the key to keeping your inspiration – and aspirations – in check is to make a little room in your monthly budget for your projects… and then stick to it.

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Perhaps the most insidious ways social media influences our spending is through social pressure or suggestion. Did your friend just tweet, Instagram, Pin or share their delicious meal from that new brunch place? Now you’re craving those waffles and you have to go! Sure, a meal out here or there may not set you back too much. But what if your friends are sharing pictures of their new house, their kitchen renovation, or their new car – and you start to feel a nagging sense that you need those things, too? Things that break your budget, or aren’t even an item in your budget to begin with?

In the social media world, you aren’t just tempted to try to keep up with your neighbours or co-workers, but also the friends from high school you don’t see anymore, and the girl or guy you once met at a party. By expanding our networks, we expand our temptations… and maybe our sense of competition.

Viral Marketing

Another social medium luring us into the spend-more trap is viral content. Lately, I’m seeing more of my friends sharing funny article lists that are actually subtle ads for various products and how-to articles written by brands. Content marketing, a marketing strategy that uses videos and articles to reach consumers, has been growing as companies look for new ways to target potential shoppers and get them to share content online.

These subtle ads may persuade us to buy things we might not need or to spend more on a brand that we have a good association with. For example, I might decide to spend a few more dollars to buy a name product rather than a generic brand because I liked their viral video. This might not seem like a big deal given that it’s just a few dollars. But it can add up, especially if it’s something that involves a larger financial decision. For example, say you’re in the market to buy a car and a particularly charming viral video persuaded you to make a more expensive choice.

What You Can Do

If you’re trying to cut back on your spending, or just don’t want those pesky laser-targeted ads, consider opting out from ‘online behavioral’ and ‘interest-based’ advertisements by registering your IP address with the Digital Advertising Alliance. It won’t make the advertisements go away, but it will make them less tailored to you. And while there are some ways to block ads on social networking sites, it’s ultimately better to be aware of the larger issue: There will always be ads, as will the temptation to spend beyond your means.

It’s during these times that you need to remember to ask yourself:

  • Is this a want or a need?
  • Do I have it in my budget to spend on this?
  • Can I plan for this expense by creating a savings goal?
  • Is there a better way to spend this money (say, paying down your credit card debt)?

Staying conscious of your financial goals can help you overcome the urge to one-up your friends and followers. In fact, if you need a different kind of motivation, consider joining other social media groups focused on saving and paying down debt. Also start checking your credit regularly to see how much your debt is costing you. You can get a free credit report summary updated monthly on Credit.com, so you can keep an eye on a major factor of your financial health.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

MONEY credit cards

Check Out the Insane Rewards Offered by this New Credit Card

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Rudyanto Wijaya/iStock

You can get 3% cash on everything you buy, at least for the first year.

We don’t get too excited about new credit cards around these parts. So the fact that I’ve personally already signed up for Discover it Miles should tell you something about this card.

The new addition to Discover’s “it” platform, announced late last month, is geared toward consumers who want to earn travel rewards without having to participate in specific airline loyalty programs. To that end, it’s joining into a competitive pool that already includes the Capital One Venture, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite and others.

Discover it Miles rewards program is unusually generous, but not in the way it’s marketed. According to my analysis, this travel rewards card can actually provide the best cash back value of any card on the market. At least for a year.

What “it” Offers

Discover it Miles is positioned in the non-branded travel rewards credit card space. That means that rather than earning miles for, say, United or American’s loyalty programs, customers instead rack up miles on their card that they can then transfer as a statement credit for travel purchases.

Such cards typically offer better value for your charging dollar, since airline programs have been devaluing miles and making it harder to redeem for tickets.

With Discover it Miles, cardholders earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent, no cap. Every mile earned is worth one penny, so $10,000 spent equates to $100 in rewards.

Most travel cards offer some kind of signup bonus as an incentive. For example, if you spend $3,000 in three months on the Capital One Venture, you’ll receive 40,000 miles.

But Discover it Miles doesn’t do this. Instead, the card doubles all of the miles you’ve earned at the end of the first 12 months. So $10,000 in spending translates to 30,000 miles, or $300, after a year.

Other perks include no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and up to $30 in credit for in-flight Wi-Fi charges. Discover also waives late-fee charges on your first missed payment.

How “it” Compares as a Travel Card

To be fair, the Discover it Miles offers better terms than other no-fee travel cards.

But if you’re someone who spends at least $475 a year, and you’re looking for travel rewards, you’re generally better off going with Barclaycard World Arrival Plus Elite, one of MONEY’s Best Credit Cards.

While Barclaycard holders endure an $89 annual fee after the first year, they also receive a 40,000 signup bonus, two miles for every dollar spent, and a 10% rebate when miles are used for a travel credit. The signup bonus alone is worth $440 if used for travel purchases.

So $10,000 spent on the Barclaycard would net you 60,000 miles (including the signup bonus), which equates to $600 off on travel statement credits. Throw in the 10% rebate, and you’re looking at $660 for that first year. That’s far more than what you can get by using the it Miles as a travel card.

How “It” Compares as a Cash Card

But you shouldn’t think of Discover’s new card as a travel-rewards product. Think of it instead as a cash-back card that nets you 3% (!) on all purchases for the first year.

How? Besides letting you redeem the miles on your statements for travel purchases, the Discover it Miles lets you claim them as a direct deposit into your bank account. So if you accrue 30,000 miles, you get $300 or 3%.

This is a major boon for consumers looking for cash back. Right now, the highest flat-rate uncapped rewards comes from the likes of Citi Double Cash and Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card, which offer 2% for all purchases. The Discover it Miles is a full percentage point better.

That’s a big deal. For $10,000 in spending, the Discover it Miles earns you $300 vs. $200 for the 2% cash back cards.

There are mutual funds on our MONEY 50 list that haven’t returned 3% over the past year!

The doubling miles feature is only good for the first year, so the card is less valuable than other products after the first 12 months. After that, you’d be better off using Citi Double Cash. But since there’s no annual fee on the Discover It Miles, there’s no harm in getting the card, using it as your primary for a year, then holding onto it.

You might actually see your credit score improve, especially if you keep your spending at the same level: A lower credit-utilization ratio is a major plus in the FICO scoring formula.

More from Money.com:

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Using Personal Email at Work

How I Made $100,000 Teaching Online

10 Smart Ways to Boost Your Investment Results

MONEY financial skills

Who’s Worst With Money: Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millennials?

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Alamy

Older and younger generations alike face financial challenges, but they share different concerns.

A new report confirms what we all fear to be true: Americans, no matter their age, are generally terrible at managing their money. In short, we all need to save more. A lot more.

This insight comes from Financial Finesse, a think tank geared toward helping people reach financial independence and security, in its 2015 generational research study released today. Financial Finesse’s assessment of each generation’s financial health is based on employee responses to its financial wellness questionnaires, which is used at more than 600 companies in the country.

In this study, generations are broken into millennials (employees younger than 30), Generation X (30 to 54) and baby boomers (55 and older). Based on what people reported about their financial situations, no group gets bragging rights or much room to criticize their older or younger counterparts. As for how they scored, it’s pretty even: On a scale of 0-10 millennials got a 4.6 for financial wellness, Gen X a 4.7 and boomers a 5.7.

Millennials

The youngest segment of the workforce seems to do pretty well with the in-the-moment financial decisions. Essentially, these consumers were scarred by the debt problems they saw in the recession, and they’re more likely to spend within their means, have plans to pay off debt, pay their credit card balances in full and avoid bank fees than Gen Xers.

Despite being in the best position to prepare for retirement (the earlier you save, the easier it is to reach your goals), millennials listed it as their third most important priority, after paying off debt and managing cash flow. The other generations had retirement planning at the top.

The debt issue is really what sets millennials apart. More of their income goes toward student loan payments than it did for other generations when they were younger, and those payments may be cutting into savings potential. The lifetime cost of debt calculator shows how even low-interest debt can impact your savings.

Generation X

Gen Xers have a higher median income than millennials, but they have a harder time managing the bills. This report attributes that to having so much going on, with managing their own finances, supporting children and caring for aging parents taking up a lot of time and resources. At the same time, the report identifies this generation as focused on improving their credit, despite the trouble they have paying bills on time and spending within their limits. (You can see your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.)

With so many demands on their finances, Gen Xers generally don’t have enough savings to fall back on, sometimes leading them to take money from retirement funds in a pinch. With each passing year, it gets harder to catch up on retirement savings, which could really hurt Gen Xers as they near the end of their careers.

Baby Boomers

With insufficient retirement savings threatening the financial stability of many older Americans, boomers need to focus on analyzing their investments and adjusting their living standards to meet their resources. There’s not much time to make up for poor retirement saving earlier in life, so boomers may have to re-evaluate one of the few things they can really control: Their expectations.

We’re not all doomed for financial ruin, but this report highlights something that cannot be emphasized enough: Setting long-term goals and sticking to plans for meeting them should dominate your financial planning. Do it your own way — there are many effective approaches to balanced money management — but don’t dismiss the importance of planning ahead.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

MONEY Gas

Here’s What Americans Are Doing With the Gas Money They’re Saving

Gas nozzle and money
Tim McCaig—Getty Images

The government's Energy Information Administration estimates the average household will spend $750 less on gas this year. So where's that money going?

Americans are enjoying a nice raise at the moment, in the form of dramatically lower gas prices. The government’s Energy Information Administration estimates that the average household will spend $750 less on gas this year, which is like getting a roughly $1,000 raise, since the savings aren’t taxed. For a little perspective, the 2008 economic stimulus package passed by Congress designed to save America from the worst of the recession sent a maximum of $600 to American households.

The gas price drop means even more to struggling lower-income earners: the bottom fifth of earners spend 13% of their income on gas.

That’s the good news. The bad news? Retailers aren’t seeing much, if any, of that money.

Americans spent $6.7 billion less on gas in January than November, but retail spending actually fell slightly during that span. That means lower gas prices are not acting as a surprise stimulus plan for the economy.

So where is the money going? To the bank.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently reported that Americans’ notoriously low personal savings rate spiked in December, to 4.9%, from 4.3% the previous month. The cash that’s not going into the gas tank is going into savings and checking accounts instead.

Few Americans save enough money, and many have insufficient rainy-day funds. With the recession fresh in their minds, many Americans appear to be more concerned with restoring their severely damaged net worth than buying stuff.

But Logan Mohtashami, a market observer and mortgage analyst, suspects something else might be at play.

“People don’t think the gas price (drop) is a long-term reality,” Mohtashami said. Despite government predictions to the contrary, he says, consumers aren’t adjusting their spending to a new normal, and instead they’re holding onto their cash for the next rise in prices.

Again, that kind of pessimism is sensible, and it’s good for personal bank accounts, but it’s not so good for growing the economy.

How much are you saving thanks to lower gas prices? What are you doing with the “raise?” saving or paying down debt? Planning a better vacation? Driving a gas-guzzler more often? Let me know in the comments, or email me at bob@credit.com.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

MONEY Budgeting

How to Start Tracking Your Spending in 7 Minutes Flat

stopwatch with money/dollar on it
George Diebold—Getty Images

If you want to save more or get out of debt, knowing where your money goes now is an essential first step.

As part of our 10-day series on Total Financial Fitness, we’ve developed six quick workouts, inspired by the popular exercise plan that takes just seven minutes a day. Each will help kick your finances into shape in no time at all. Today: The 7-Minute Spending Tracker

Seven minutes is a little tight to create a budget, but it’s enough to tackle the first step: pulling together all your spending info using a budgeting tool such as Mint. You’ll need your credit and debit cards to get started.

0:00 Surf to Mint.com and register for a free account.

0:42 Mint asks for your credit card providers and bank. As you type in each one, a list of possible matches will pop up. Select the right one and enter the online login and password you use for that account. (Mint is a secure site and cannot get to your money.)

3:02 Mint will need a minute to pull in all of your transactions, which it automatically slots into categories like “Cellphone” and “Groceries.” Problem is, the app doesn’t always get it right. To fix that, click the “Transactions” tab.

3:34 See those “uncategorized” charges? You can select them to choose a correct label. This is pretty tedious, so tick the box that says “always re-categorize X as Y.” That way, Mint will put all future transactions from that retailer in the right place.

5:02 When you did that, you probably also noticed some charges Mint tried to identify but placed into the wrong bucket. Scroll through those and correct them the same way.

6:30 Grab your phone and download the Mint app. Having the program handy will help you keep on top of charges.

7:00 Now you’re ready to click the “Budgets” tab and create a spending plan. For more help with that, check out our Money 101 stories on creating a budget you can stick to and setting financial priorities.

Previous:

Next:

  • Day 6: Cut the Fat From Your Budget
  • Day 7: Find Ways to Save More
  • Day 8: Boost Your Earning Power
  • Day 9: Learn How Better Health Can Help Your Finances
  • Day 10: Shore Up Your Safety Net
MONEY credit cards

3 Secrets to Maximizing Your Credit Card Travel Rewards

travel rewards first class
iStock

A ticket to the first-class cabin may be in your future if you follow these strategies

Consumers lately have been favoring credit cards that give cash back over those with travel rewards.

Less than half of credit cardholders surveyed by ThePointsGuy.com recently accumulate travel points or miles, and only one in three Millennials. It’s no wonder, given that airlines have seriously devalued frequent flier miles and made it more difficult to redeem points for tickets.

“But there is still tremendous value in getting the right travel card,” says Brian Kelly founder of ThePointsGuy.com.

What to Look For

•A hefty bonus. Sign-up bonuses among the 20 most popular travel cards increased 25% this year, according to Kelly. And in some cases, he adds, just a single bonus can provide enough miles for a first-class airline ticket anywhere in the world.
•Flexible redemption options. To get the most for your spending dollar, Kelly notes, you’re likely better off skipping airline-branded cards that let you rack up miles on a particular carrier (since these limit your redemption opportunities) in favor of cards that let you transfer miles to other loyalty programs or allow you to use the rewards you’ve accumulated as cash toward any kind of travel purchases.
Most travel cardholders either aren’t don’t have such a card or don’t take advantage. ThePointsGuy.com’s survey found that, among the 42% of people who have a travel rewards card, only 19% have ever transferred rewards points or miles from their credit card to an airline’s loyalty program.

•No foreign transaction fees. These are another self-inflicted wound for consumers. According to the survey, one-quarter of all credit cardholders have to pay a fee when they buy stuff overseas (it’s typically 2% to 4%), and one-third don’t know if their card charges them extra. With so many products available that do not charge this fee, a lot of borrowers are throwing money away.

Your Best Bets

MONEY’s two Best Credit Card winners for travel offer among the heftiest bonuses in the biz with no foreign transaction fees, and neither leaves you stuck with one airline.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days, in addition to two miles per dollar spent. You can redeem the miles as a statement credit against any kind of travel, and get 10% miles back when you do so. This means that the sign-up bonus alone will earn you $440.

Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s sign-up bonus comes in at 40,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. You receive double points for dining and travel spending, 5,000 points for adding an authorized user and a 20% discount when you book the travel through Chase. While you can apply the points as cash back for travel, you can also transfer them to a number of partner loyalty programs, including Southwest and United.

More from Money.com:

How to Balance Spending and Safety in Retirement

8 Tax-Filing Flubs to Avoid

The Easiest Way to Check Your Credit—Fast

MONEY Love and Money

Why Cupid Is a Tightwad

In the new normal, fiscal prudence is sexier than ripped abs or buns of steel

When it comes to romance, who needs good looks? These days, Cupid is all about smart budgets and a sterling balance sheet, according to the latest findings on love and money.

A whopping 78% of Americans in a relationship say they prefer a partner who is good with money over one who’s physically attractive, according to a recent poll from rewards credit card Citi Double Cash. More than half believe their partner is looking out for their financial future.

Which is not to say Cupid is blind—but the arrow-slinging god of desire may simply be smarting from the Great Recession. Only recently have jobs and wages begun to show much strength. In this new normal, financial survival is sexier than ripped abs or knowing your way around a wine list. So it is that 52% of Americans expect their valentine this year to order takeout, not take them out, according to a love and money study from Ally Financial.

The Ally study also found that 55% are attracted to potential mates with strong budgeting and saving strategies. Specifically, 21% are attracted to those who pay as they go and avoid debt of any kind, while 18% are attracted to those who know how to chase down and seize a bargain. Just 3% are attracted to a suitor who appreciates the finer things and has a high credit card limit.

These findings help explain the rise of a dating site like creditscoredating.com, which seeks to address the concerns of the fiscally prudent lovelorn.

Yet love and money will always have an oil and water quality. People in a relationship are more than twice as likely to say they are the saver and that their mate is the spender in the union, according to a poll from SunTrust. About half agree that they and their partner have different spending habits. And among those who cop to relationship stress, the top cause is financial behavior.

The good news is that two-thirds say they do not have serious recurring arguments with their partner about money, Ally found. So this Valentine’s Day why not go cheap? The data suggest your date will adore you for it.

Read next: This is the sexiest financial habit

MONEY Workplace

Now That You Can Surf at Your Desk, Standing Is So Passé

Surfdesk
Rebecca Farmer

First came standing desks, then treadmill desks, now say hello to surfing desks.

To hear Joel Heath tell it, standing was just too hard.

“I started experiencing pain in different places,” he told Fast Company about his experience using a stand-up desk. “I just felt like there had to be a better way. I started to play with the idea that if you put a subtle rocker under the foot, you could move out of a sedentary state.”

So Heath created the Level, a surfboard-like platform that requires users to constantly shift their weight in order to keep their balance. FluidStance, the company behind the product, says that research conducted by the Heeluxe Testing Lab in California shows that introducing movement beneath one’s feet increases heart rate by 15% compared with sitting.

It’s the next evolution of the standing desk, which grew in popularity after studies showed that sitting for long periods of time could be bad for your health.

Kent Hatcher, ergonomics director and engineer at HumanTech Inc., likened using the Level to balancing on a stability ball, which requires your core muscles to work continually to keep you from falling over. “I see a product like this being great for some conference rooms, or occasionally used by people at a standing desk,” he says. “But it would take a period of acclimatization to get good at using the mouse and keyboard while wobbling around.”

Indeed, similar products like treadmill desks have been shown to affect performance-related tasks like typing. Heeluxe’s testing of the Level found no statistical difference in the number of typing errors made by Level users compared with those sitting at a desk, but even the occasional typo might be worth it. “Generally, the scientific community seems to think that the overall health benefits of standing and movement on the muscles and skeleton outweigh any sort of [performance] declines,” Hatcher says.

Level has clearly tapped into an enthusiastic niche market. The company’s crowdfunding campaign, launched on Jan. 12, raised $126,255 in less than a month—more than three times the original goal of $40,000.

FluidStance offers three different versions of the product: the Original Handmade Level ($389), the American-made Level ($289) and the Pacific Level ($269). That’s a lot more than the $22 you’ll spend building your own standing desk, but it certainly looks like more fun.

 

MONEY Sports

The Super-Size Numbers Surrounding the Super Bowl

How many wings will we eat this Sunday? Who's watching just for the commercials? How much money have people bet illegally on this game?

Click through the gallery for answers to all of the above, as well as other fun facts about what people are eating, drinking, and spending come Sunday.

 

  • $30 Million

    Fans outside the University of Phoenix Stadium before the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
    Christian Petersen—Getty Images

    The amount Arizona will spend to host Super Bowl XVIX. That figure is low, though, compared with the $50 million San Francisco, the host for next year’s Super Bowl, estimates it will need to spend. Last year’s hosts, New Jersey and New York, spent $70 million.

  • 36%

    Seattle Seahawks' Chris Matthews (13) and DeShawn Shead celebrate after overtime of the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle.
    Elaine Thompson—AP

    Proportion of Americans rooting for the Seattle Seahawks to win the game. The Patriots hold only a little less of the public’s support, with 31% rooting for them, but more people (33%) simply don’t care who wins, the Emerson College Polling Society found.

  • $119.95

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's jersey on the rack at the Olympia Sports store. The Patriots will face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.
    Charles Krupa—AP

    The price of a New England Patriots’ jersey bearing star quarterback Tom Brady‘s name. A similar jersey for Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson sells for $20 less on NFLshop.com.

  • 158 Million

    150129_EM_SBNumbers_Avocados
    Getty Images—Getty Images

    The number of avocados Americans will consume around the championship game. After all, when you’re eating 11 million pounds of chips, you need a lot of guacamole. Don’t forget those beloved chicken wings: We’ll order up 1.23 billion of them on game day. And how will we wash all this food down? With 325 million gallons of beer, of course.

  • 2,400

    table of high calorie fast foods
    fStop Images—Alamy

    The number of calories in the snacks the average person will consume during the game. That makes this Sunday the second biggest day for gluttony after Thanksgiving, according to the Calorie Control Council.

  • $3.8 Billion

    Super Bowl proposition bets are displayed on a board at the Westgate Superbook race and sports book Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Las Vegas.
    John Locher—AP

    The worth of all illegal bets the American Gaming Association expects to be made on this year’s game. That figure is 38 times greater than the $100 million that will be bet legally.

  • $4.5 Million

    Bud Light 90-second "Coin" Super Bowl Commercial
    Anheuser-Busch Bud Light 90-second "Coin" Super Bowl Commercial

    Cost of 30 seconds of air time during the Super Bowl, up $500,000 from 2014. Another big change: More of this year’s commercials will be paid for by companies you’ve never heard of. But no matter who is behind the ads, only 5% of people find them bothersome. The vast majority of viewers, 77%, find them entertaining.

  • 111.5 Million

    Denver Broncos fans watch their team play the Seahawks during the first half of the Super Bowl, inside Jackson's, a sports bar and grill in Denver.
    Brennan Linsley—AP Denver Broncos fans watch their team play the Seahawks during the first half of the Super Bowl, inside Jackson's, a sports bar and grill in Denver.

    The record-breaking number of people who tuned into last year’s game, when the Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos. About seven out of 10 households watched, according to Nielsen.

  • 19%

    Victoria's Secret Super Bowl advertisement featuring Victoria’s Secret Angels playing football
    Michael Seto

    The percentage of people who say that the commercials are the most important part of the Super Bowl. Another 9% tune in for the halftime show, while 12% value getting together with friends. Only 36% of people said the actual game was most important. The remaining 24% planned to skip the game all together, the National Retail Federation reports.

  • 25.3 Million

    150129_EM_SBNumbers_TweetsSent
    Kacper Pempel—Reuters

    Tweets sent out during the course of last year’s game by the 5.6 million people who logged on to share their thoughts, according to Nielsen.

  • 26%

    150129_EM_SBNumbers_SBParty
    Lund-Diephuis—Getty Images

    Proportion of people who plan to attend a Super Bowl party this Sunday. Another 18% will host their own parties.

  • $78

    refrigerator of beer
    Simon Battensby—Getty Images

    Average amount people who will watch the Super Bowl plan to spend on food, beverages, and team merchandise, up from $68 last year, according to the NRF.

  • $69,241,725

    New England Patriots players warm up during practice Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. The Patriots play the Seattle Seahawks in NFL football Super Bowl XLIX Sunday, Feb. 1, in Glendale, Ariz.150129_EM_SBNumbers_Payroll
    Mark Humphrey—AP New England Patriots players warm up during practice Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz.

    Payroll total for the Seattle Seahawks this year. The Patriots “only” spent $53,952,046 on salaries this year.

  • 26%

    goalposts with light flare from sun
    iStock

    Percentage of people who say that God plays a role in determining the outcome of a game, the Public Religion Research Institute found.

  • $92,000

    Superbowl Ring
    Elaine Thompson—AP

    The salary bonus each player on the winning team received last year, because, you know, a diamond-encrusted title ring and lifetime bragging rights aren’t enough. Players on the losing team got a $46,000 consolation bonus, Sports Illustrated reported.

  • $7,114

    A general view of the exterior of MetLife Stadium as a fan holds his Super Bowl XLVIII ticket prior to the Super Bowl XLVIII game between the Seattle Seahawks against the Denver Broncos in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday, February 2, 2014. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43-8.
    Scott Boehm—AP

    Price of the cheapest Super Bowl ticket on secondary market ticket sale site TiqIQ as of Thursday afternoon.

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