Individuals use self-imposed mental constraints as a guide to make frequent consumption choices. Recent studies, however, suggest that such mental self-rationing processes may be inefficient. The purpose of this real-life experimental study was to investigate the self-rationing efficiency of households’ repeated purchases. Eating-out expenditures take up over half of the food expenditures among families. This study investigated efficiency of eating-away-from-home budget. The results of this study show the classic response by households of adjusting up the eating-away-from-home budget over time when asked to explicitly declare their budgets, suggesting inefficiency in the mental self-rationing process. We also investigated whether repeated experiences could improve the efficiency of self-rationing and found results to the contrary. Experience was positively related to self-rationing inefficiency. We discuss contributions to the literature in regard to self-rationing of repeated expenses and the implications for practice and policy, especially given that experience could further increase inefficiencies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management