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What Is the Relationship between Paying in Cash and Health?

People who pay in cash tend to make healthier food choices, according to a 2011 study from the Journal of Consumer Research. The study suggests that foods that are considered unhealthy are more likely to be impulse buys, which result from the anticipation of visceral factors, such as pleasure. The desire to impulse buy appears to be weakened by aversive visceral factors, such as pain. Most people find it more difficult to part with cash than to use a credit or debit card, so they're more likely to resist unhealthy choices if they pay in cash.

More about cash and impulse buying:

  • Consumers also are more likely to make impulse buys if they are distracted while shopping, and, when distracted, they can be swayed by something as simple as a positive image or word on a product.

  • During the 1970s in the U.S., the value of cash in domestic circulation accounted for about 5 percent of the country's economic activity; by 2010, it accounted for about 2.5 percent. Consumer cash use was projected to drop by at least 15 percent from 2010-2015.

  • Americans have almost 610 million credit cards.

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