Nouveau Riche: Are You Hanging On To New Dollars And Spending the Old Ones?

November 14, 2012  |  

Researchers from the University of Winnipeg and the University of Guelph have found that people are quick to get rid of their old, raggedy-looking money and want to hang on tight to the new, crisper dollars.

“The physical appearance of money can alter spending behavior. Consumers tend to infer that worn bills are used and contaminated, whereas crisp bills give them a sense of pride in owning bills that can be spent around others,” write the authors Gabrizio Di Muro and Theodore J. Noseworthy.

The researchers also found that people actually spend more money when the bills show serious signs of wear-and-tear, going so far as to use the older money even when they have the exact amount  of new money on-hand. But, when they think people are looking, folks will whip out those new bills faster than you can say “Make it rain.”

Money is money and if you’ve got it, you’re probably pretty happy. But there is a little thrill in getting a fresh dollar, right out of the wrapper. People’s attitudes could also be impacted by parents, who oftentimes tell kids that money is dirty because it passes through so many hands. How many times have you seen a parent try to get a little one to stop putting money in their mouths by saying, “Yucky! Dirty!”? When you manage to get a bill that hasn’t been touched, it almost adds to its value.

Do you have a soft spot for crisp, new dollars?

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