Save money on everything by shopping on a full stomach

If you’ve ever been guilty of over-buying stuff you don’t need, or irrationally splurging out on anything only to regret it later, you’re about to find out why.

In a recent study (Xu, Schwartz, Wyer, 2015), a group of researchers set out to discover how hunger affects our desire to buy things. Here’s what they discovered.

Hunger increases our desire to buy food, and makes us like those food choices more. Well, no surprise there.

But there’s a twist.

I’m starving… give me more binder clips!

The researchers found that even for non-food items, hunger will still condition us to buy more. And they tested this hypothesis with one of the most boring, unexciting items ever — a binder clip.

In this experiment, volunteers were shown common binder clips and asked:

  1. How many they wanted
  2. How much they liked or disliked the clips
  3. How hungry they were feeling

The result — hungry volunteers didn’t necessarily like the binder clips any more than their peers did, but they wanted more of them.

So, from this point onwards, whether you’re shopping for tacos or tweezers, make sure you do it on a full stomach!


Xu, A. J., Schwarz, N., & Wyer, R. S. (2015). Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects: Table 1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Proceedings Of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(9), 2688–2692.

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