The Zoomer Report: Cash and Healthier Purchases

Here’s a novel way to make healthier choices when you’re shopping for food. Pay cash.

An analysis of the shopping patterns of more than 1,000 consumers finds that when paying cash, people tend to choose healthier options.

Previous research has found that paying with credit can encourage people to spend more money because physically handing over a dollar bill increases the so-called “ pain of payment,” which takes away from the pleasure of consumption.

It turns out paying with a card can also make us likely to spend more money on food we consider bad, junk food.

The researchers say it’s because when we pay for items with a card, it feels less like spending real money, so we tend to be more impulsive – just as we would with other kinds of purchases.

The study in the Journal of Consumer Research also says the corollary is true. The so-called pain of payment can curb the urges to buy unhealthy food.

Photo © Dušan Zidar

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About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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