If you’ve got a bunch of singles in your wallet, you probably don’t think much of burning a few of them on a trinket or snack that catches your eye. If you’ve got larger bills, such as $20s or $50s, you’re probably less likely to go through the hassle of breaking them just to indulge your whims.
Time’s Moneyland blog verifies the conventional wisdom by citing a paper soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The paper identifies the tendency as the denomination effect, which convinces you that large bills are sacred “real” money, while small bills are play funds you won’t miss when gone.
If you’d like to rein in your impulse spending, leave your credit card at home — or at least make it difficult to access — and stock your wallet with mostly large bills.
Why (Bill) Size Really Does Matter [Time Moneyland]