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Paying Cash For Groceries Curbs Unhealthy Impulse Buying

November 11, 2010: 03:33 PM EST

A U.S. researcher who analyzed actual grocery store purchases made by 1,000 households over six months found that shoppers who paid for their groceries with a credit card tended to buy more unhealthy food. On the other hand, researchers found that shoppers who paid with cash made less impulsive purchases  and tended to buy healthier food. According to the researchers, cash payments are apparently psychologically more painful than card payments; the pain curbs impulsive responses to throw unhealthy food items into the shopping cart. “Uunderstanding that using plastic increases their vice purchases may help people control impulsive behavior,” the researchers said.

Kalpesh Desai, et al., "Buying Groceries with Credit Cards Fuels Unhealthy Food Purchases", News release, Binghamton University, November 11, 2010, © Binghamton University (SUNY)
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