The Value of Cash

Card payments have become very common, but perhaps we should be more mindful when paying by card over cash. A recent study from Professor Shah (from UTSC) shows the correlation between overspending and non-cash payments. What does this imply and what can we do about it?



In a world where traditional wallets are being replaced by card holders, overspending is becoming more and more common. The shift from cash to card payments seems to have unexpected impacts on people’s buying habits.


A recent study conducted by Professor Shah shows how the average consumer tends to value hard cash over other forms of payment. The theory is that people feel a sharper sting when parting with cash compared to when paying by card because there is a tangible object that they part with. It is not rational, but still people feel it. You may have experienced this yourself, but what is interesting is how this mentality of valuing cash higher than card transactions impacts your thoughts on the product itself after buying it.


The experiment by Professor Shah demonstrates this well. She had two separate groups of people buy the same $2 mug, but one group paid in cash while the other paid with debit or credit card. Two hours after the customers bought the mug, she asked the customers to return the mugs for a price they found fair. While the group that paid with cards asked for an average compensation of $3.83, the group who paid in cash asked for $6.71.


The significant difference between the price of the mug set by the two groups demonstrate how people evaluate the actual product differently depending on how they pay. It is a similar concept with thinking a $100 pair shoes must be a better quality than a $20 pair of shoes. Since people value cash more than card payments, the products bought by cash seem to be of better quality. On top of that, card transactions evoke a smaller sense of ownership. When handling cash, the physical exchange causes one to believe “I own this” more so than cards.


These two different mindsets lead to less satisfaction with a product when bought by card than cash. Not only are people spending more, but they are less content with their purchases!


If you find yourself overspending or unsatisfied with your purchases, perhaps it is time to find a strategy to avoid this mentality. A simple solution is to start carrying cash and using it to make small purchases such as coffee. As Professor Shah says, if you want to enjoy really good coffee, pay with cash. Another method that I personally use is to download the app of your bank and set the notification settings so that each time a transaction passes, you are notified of the amount deducted from your bank account. Believe me, it stings to see a notification on your phone letting you know you’ve spent X amount of dollars, but the coffee I drink is always marvelous.


By: Ellen Imamura


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Last-minute Halloween Costumes

Not many students have time nor money for a lavish outfit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up for Halloween! Check out some last-minute ideas to go to that party with the perfect outfit.

As university students, it’s hard to find time to make a Halloween costume and we certainly do not have the money to buy one– have you seen the prices of costumes recently? Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on one night? So what can you do to show up to that party and be dressed the part?


  1. Stripes are your best friend


There are many costumes you can make if you own (or borrow) a striped shirt.

With black and white stripes, you can choose to be a burglar, a mime, or a pirate. Just match some dark coloured pants and some details to match the chosen outfit. A burglar can carry a sac with them and wear an eye mask. A mime should wear white gloves and consider wearing some make-up. A pirate should wrap a bandana on their head and wear an eye patch if you own one.

If you own a red and white striped shirt, you can be Waldo or Wilma just by pairing some jeans with it. If you own other red and white accessories (such as a hat or socks), wear that too.

Blue and white shirts can work for sailors, just pair it with some jeans and get a sailor’s hat to finish the outfit.


  1. Choose an animal

If you have a small amount of time, take a trip to the dollar store and buy some ears for an animal of your choice. All you need to do is draw some whiskers and a nose on your face and you’re set!

  1. Pick a pun!

If you’re still at a loss and don’t even have time to take a trip to the dollar store, pick your favourite pun, expression or title and make it into a costume. Usually this only requires very basic materials, sometimes just a name tag and prop. An example would be “Life” that gives you lemons. Wear the name tag “Life” and hand out lemons!

Last minute costumes just depend on what you own and feel comfortable wearing- if you’re a makeup fanatic, be a pop-art character or a SnapChat filter. If you already own superhero shirts, you know what to do! Just put something together and have a fun night!

Happy Halloween!



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