While I typically like to devote these posts to advice on product repair and energy-saving tips I pick up here and there, I've been reading a lot about holiday spending today, and how its a concern for many Americans.
In particular, I was drawn to a story about a report from the Journal of Consumer Research that was cited by my local NPR affiliate. The study indicated that people tend to spend more with credit cards than cash, a notion that I can confirm from experience. (I will never bring a credit card to an amusement park again.)
The study indicated that when we buy with a credit card, we become blind to the downsides of a product, and that even associate cash spending with negative feelings. It's almost as if the tangible act of spending money reinforces the negative aspects of the act, researchers say. However, while spending cash can be great, it's a reality that many of us aren't going to switch back to using this means of payment full time.
After all, shopping online can be beneficial, and more often than not, this needs to be done with a credit card. I would say that – in my humble experience – online shopping gives me the ability to better compare products in a way I can't in stores. For example, when shopping at a discount website that has a good visual display, I can see products side-by-side, note their different functions and then make a decision based on cost.
That's why when I shop for home improvement items such as air conditioners, electric heaters or even thermostats, I make my purchases online. While this isn't a one-fix-fits-all solution, it may be the remedy you need if you struggle with card purchases, but want to purchase one of these energy-saving items.