Splurging After Reaching Your Goal: How and When a Used (vs. Unused) Account Affects Consumption Behavior?
How does spending from a used (vs. unused) account affect consumption behavior? In ten studies (N=13,948), we find that consumers are more likely to spend resources on non-essential items from a used (vs. unused) account. This is because consumers perceive they have accomplished their purchase goal when they have relatively less remaining in their account. We demonstrate the robustness of the effect of a used vs. unused account across several domains, including checking accounts, credit card reward points, and gift cards. Further, we demonstrate three boundary conditions of the effect, revealing that the proportion of the account remaining, whether the purchase goal has been reached or not, as well as whether the purchase is on essential vs. non-essential items moderate the subsequent consumption behavior.