We Spend Crumpled Money Faster Than Crisp Bills Because Eww, Other People Have Touched It

Look in your wallet. Which bills make you happier — the smooth, crisp new ones, or the dirty, crumpled, well-worn notes that have probably been passed around a bajillion times and handled by goodness knows how many people who don’t wash their hands? A new study says the crisper the money, the less likely we are to spend it because everyone wants to get rid of the old, dirty money as fast as possible.

The folks over at the Financial Ramblings blog take a look at a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research that says consumers spend more money when they’re dealing with a wallet full of worn-out gross bills than the newer, crisp ones.

We’re also more likely to break an old, larger bill instead of spending those precious clean ones.

As for the why? We’re basically grossed out by the thought of so many others touching the money we’re now touching, and see it as a sign of awesomeness to possess new money.

“People want to rid themselves of worn currency because they are disgusted by the contamination from others… [but they] put a premium on crisp currency because they take pride in owning bills that can be spent around others.”

As such, if others are around to watch us spend money, we’re more likely to shell out those crisp bills to impress our fellow shoppers.

This could be a great way to save money — don’t go shopping around other people and insist on only clean money.

Dirty Money and Spending Behavior [Financial Ramblings]