Let's say that, in your wallet, you have one crisp and clean $20 bill and one wilted and worn $20. Researchers say you'll reach first for the nasty old note to make your next cash purchase.
Fabrizio Di Muro and Theodore Noseworthy, both professors at Ontario, Canada, universities, claim that the physical condition of money influences spending choices, said an article in the London Telegraph. "Consumers may value a crisp banknote more than a worn bank-note because they believe the latter is disgusting and thus want to be rid of it," the professors said.
The two reached their conclusion based on studies in which consumers were given either crisp or worn bills and then given a series of shopping tasks to carry out. They tended to use up the worn bills first, even in a case where a smaller denomination (but newer) banknote would have done.
The exception to this rule, the Telegraph article said, was when people were in situations that had a social context, such as an expensive boutique. Then they would pay with the new banknote.
For more on this topic, visit the trends/statistics research center.