Title: Could financial trouble be avoided by cooking at home? An analysis of checking account records

Authors: Franziska Willenbuecher; Marc Anthony Fusaro

Addresses: Center for Public Partnerships and Research, Achievement and Assessment Institute, University of Kansas, 1315 Wakarusa Dr., Lawrence KS 66049, USA ' School of Business, Emporia State University, Box 4039, 1 Kellogg Circle, Emporia KS 66801, USA

Abstract: While the pricing of fast food and the social implications of the payday loan industry have been investigated individually, this study answers the question whether a cycle of debt could be avoided by cooking at home. While no statistical correlation between food spending and loan amounts was found, the results show that households could have saved on average 36.14% of the average loan amount, had they omitted fast food and restaurant meals for 30 days. Specifically, more than 23% of households could have saved 30% or more while almost 9% could have saved 70% or more of their loan amount if they had cooked at home. The findings of this research demonstrate that fast food, and food spending in general, are part of a larger spending pattern that could best be addressed through financial literacy curricula and public policy in the area of payday loans.

Keywords: restaurant meals; household finance; household spending; fast food; cooking at home; payday loans; financial literacy; food spending; financial trouble; cycle of debt.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSEM.2019.103168

International Journal of Services, Economics and Management, 2019 Vol.10 No.3, pp.195 - 207

Available online: 14 Oct 2019 *

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