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Use £'s to save pounds

We all know there are plenty of times in your shopping week when it is better to use cash: from picking up your newspaper in the newsagents, to that top-up pint of milk from the corner shop. No-one wants to be the awkward person who takes forever at the till trying to pay with a card for something that costs a few pounds.

But did you know that there are other benefits to doing your weekly grocery shop with cash? New research in fact reveals that using cash could be good for your health! A study carried out recently in the United States shows that you are more likely to stick to healthy food choices in the supermarket when you chose you pay by cash.

The research, published in the Journal of Consumer Research (1), reveals that this is because junk food is associated with impulsiveness. You are far more likely to be impulsive with your spending if you know you can flash the plastic on arrival at the till.

As you enter the supermarket, you may have every intention of 'being good', but if you're using a credit or debit card, according to the Journal of Consumer Research, you're far more likely to reach for the junk. With cash, it is proved that you will think more carefully about your purchases and most probably decide to leave the unnecessary items on the shelf. You may 'lose' the crisps and the multipack, but you will gain by having your health in a much better state long-term.

Obesity is a critical problem in the UK, and it has been estimated that 13m Britons are obese. Researchers of this study go as far as to suggest a link between rising levels of obesity and changing methods of payment as people are drawn towards using cards over cash. A card makes you far more likely to pick up the things you impulsively crave.

So our tips for a healthy weekly shop include:

  • Never go shopping on an empty stomach… you will be too tempted!
  • Try to leave the kids with your partner or other family so they aren't asking for lots of unhealthy treats too
  • Set yourself a cash budget and plan your shop in advance. You will be less likely to 'stray' off the list then
  • Take on your shopping trips only the amount of cash you intend to spend-you can't spend what you don't have with you!

1. Manoj Thomas, Kalpesh Kaushik Desai, and Satheeshkumar Seenivasa, How Credit Card Payments Increase Unhealthy Food Purchases: Visceral Regulation of Vices, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 38, 000

Monday, 29th November 2010

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