People don’t like to spend money. We experience pain of paying (Zellermayer, 1996), because we are loss averse. The pain of paying plays an important role in consumer self-regulation to keep spending in check (Prelec & Loewenstein, 1998). This pain is thought to be reduced in credit card purchases, because plastic is less tangible than cash, the depletion of resources (money) is less visible and payment is deferred. Different types of people experience different levels of pain of paying, which can affect spending decisions. Tightwads, for instance, experience more of this pain than spendthrifts. As a result, tightwads are particularly sensitive to marketing contexts that make spending less painful (Rick, 2018). (See also mental accounting.)


Prelec, D., & Loewenstein, G. (1998). The red and the black: Mental accounting of savings and debt. Marketing Science, 17(1), 4-28.

Rick, S. I. (2018). Tightwads and spendthrifts: An interdisciplinary review. Financial Planning Review, 1(1-2), e1010. Retrieved from

Zellermayer, O. (1996). The pain of paying. (Doctoral dissertation). Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.