Do you feel guilt or shame when you gain weight?
Do you regret purchasing junk food when you could buy a more healthy and nutritious alternative.
Wait a minute…don’t be self-depreciating.
Maybe, just maybe, there is another culprit attempting to take over your brain. This culprit will keep you from your fulfilling any of your plans to purchase anything organic, fresh and healthy; instead hypnotizing you towards the processed food and “sugar coated everything” isle, before smacking you become filled will buyers remorse.
Research shows that paying with your credit card affects your food purchases. In summary, the study states that when you make a food purchase by credit card you are more likely to purchase a less healthy consumable.
This is true. Forget willpower, your credit card is in control of your diet as well as your fate.
What does research suggest?
Leading research also shows that subconscious behaviours such as payment methods are having on our choices and behaviour. Once you consider the increase in online shopping, it becomes more alarming. A vast majority of people now make their purchases online. This automatically eliminates any notions of physical payment. Could our apathetic nature lead to unhealthy obsessions?
When we make purchases with cold hard cash, it causes us to feel more pain and discomfort because we see money in the form of notes and coins as being tangible. By departing with physical currency we develop more discomfort. Therefore, we have become more conscious as consumers. By buying goods with cash we deliberate more over a purchase being worth its value or necessity.
The mentality behind spending!
When we purchase items by payment method of credit or debit card, we see the purchase as being intangible and there is less discomfort when there is no additional physicality, in regards to wealth. This unconsciously affects how we spend our money because we are more likely to impulsively purchase items, so much so, we purchase irrelevant and unhealthy consumables regardless of how detrimental it is to our health. This contradiction must have a catalyst and an un-tangible one at that. This catalyst is of course, the credit card.
Even people who are considered to be natural ´tightwads´ with their money are subconsciously affected by the allusion of artificial currency. Empirical studies suggest that a person is more likely to make impulsive, unhealthy purchases when paying by credit or debit cards; thus emphasising the discomfort we associate with physical payments that help us make more conscious and intentional buys in accordance with our values and long-term health and lifestyle goals. We rush to make a payment. A perfect example of this is the contactless payment.
How can we avoid this?
- If shopping in a brick and mortar store (as opposed to shopping on-line) arrive with a pre-ordained list of food items that you want to purchase. This will help you to shop as a conscious shopper. When you arrive with a list of products in mind, with a mental budget, you are more than likely to stick to it.
- Here is another tip, attempt to do the majority of your shopping at the weekend. This will reduce the chance of any impulsive buying. Try to inhibit the habit of writing a shopping list on the basis of necessity. Include products that you are running low during the week like milk and bread. Make sure you value necessity above all else and make sure you can pay by cash for smaller items that can be purchased at convenience stores.
- You should also divide your payments into order of the quantitative. Pay in cash for smaller products and by credit card for larger payments. Again this requires preparation and the ability to disseminate between what you need and what you want. Knowing what you want to buy, roughly how much that will cost and how it affects your budget will be of a great benefit to you.
- Don´t worry if you have to pay by debit or credit card or are shopping on-line, always come with an idea of what you want to purchase.
What are the advantages to paying by credit or debit cards?
- Yes! Using your credit or debit card to pay for healthy activities like gym membership, yoga classes, dance classes etc. make it easier and less painful to purchase with card payments than regularly getting your wallet out to pay by cash. Of course, most health and fitness products are a one-time fee that will require a larger sum or direct debit for memberships. Due to the beneficial implications of health and fitness products, you are willing to spend more because health is wealth, right?
- By following our tips and preparing your list you will save some precious resources. Furthermore, by developing a pre-ordained list you are more likely to list healthier products. Humans have a propensity to pre-conceptualise their future. How often have you been working in the gym with the pre-conception of a toned and attractive physique. Anybody with a health conscious will either align their meals with their workouts or pre-conceptualise the health benefits of nutritional produce. Therefore, by researching nutrition you are more likely to develop healthy meals that are alternatives to junk food.
Not only will these tips optimise your wallet, they will also optimise your health. By understanding how the alteration of payment methods can shape and affect your purchasing behaviour subconsciously, you can learn to adapt your diet while aligning it with your budget. Our mentalities are always busy due to the nature of our user-generated society.
Health is wealth.
We can fall victim to our own un-satiated desires and while I believe everyone should balance their diet with cheat meals in between, we should strive to feel the best in our bodies. We owe it to ourselves. As our world becomes more and more interconnected with the on-line world, it´s important to implement your own strategies regarding health and wealth. You know yourself the best and with this unique knowledge you can devise methods that play in your own favour.
As a personal trainer I believe that nutrition is instrumental in the maintenance of your body, mind and lifestyle. Throughout my 15 years as PT, I have seen the positive effects of maintaining a healthy diet. The difficulty is finding a balance between nutritional value and price. Most products with substantial nutritional value are costly and till this inflation decreases, these tips are really useful.
For more interesting research that goes against our common sense or intuitive approach to life which can often be proven wrong when put to the empirical research test, check out the following websites and work:
To read research on affect of credit card payments on consumer behaviour, check out this research article:
Thomas, M., Desai, K. K., & Seenivasan, S. (2011). How Credit Card Payments Increase Unhealthy Food Purchases: Visceral Regulation of Vices. Journal of Consumer Research, 38(1), 126-139.
This guest post was written by Robert Cretney.
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This article provides some monetary tips on how to maximise your nutrition.