Whether we like it or not, there is a sense of satisfaction that is gained from spending money and buying things we want. This mindset is risky, as it links your ability to be happy with spending money – something any reader of Savings Guide will know I am against.
However new research (Journalist’s Resource, 15/08/2011) has shown some very interesting statistics and observations as to how our brain works and how our purchases impact our happiness.
Here are some of the main findings that were rather eye opening. These findings are definitely worth considering next time you go to make a purchase.
Spend money on temporary pleasures
It is suggested that spending money on small, temporary pleasures yield more happiness in general than larger/bigger purchases. Although somewhat counterproductive to the notion of ‘getting ahead financially’ – it appears happiness is much more likely to arise from smaller pleasures then say saving for a holiday in 5 years time.
Spend money on experiences
Experiences such as travelling, sporting events and concerts to name a few are capable of making happiness more so than material goods. Nearly 57% of surveyed people noted that the greatest happiness came from these events as opposed to only 34% which stated material goods made them happy.
Don’t spend money on extended warranties
It was noted that ‘hedging your bets’ against future regrets has a severe impact on your happiness. What this means is that buying an extended warranty on say a digital camera, actually lowers the happiness of the buyer. It was also noted that many times these extended warranties and insurances were undermined by the stores return policy, meaning money was spent for nothing.
Give money to needy causes
Whether it be charity, politics or personal relations – giving money to others, rather than using solely on yourself was reported to give people a greater sense of happiness from the emotional rewards of helping others.
Change your thought process on spending
The research found that the mentality of ‘consumer now, pay later’ was not as good as ‘pay now, consumer later’. This is because thinking about future events can help trigger stronger emotions and happiness.
Think before you buy
You should also think carefully before committing to a purchase, as over time the distress a regretted purchase can cause is significant.
Don’t buy something just because it is cheaper
Comparison shopping can be risky, as often people purchase items that are comparatively better on paper but not fulfilling the happiness factor that originally lead them to want to buy. Don’t seek products that are always the best deal, instead think of happiness also.
Ask other consumers for their opinion
It is also suggested that by gauging opinion of other consumers, we are able to get a close predication as to how much we ourselves will enjoy the product. This means looking for reviews and thoughts on a product online while carefully avoiding the comparative shopping path.
What do you think??
Tell us what you think about all this. Does it apply to you? We know that some of these points can be counterproductive to saving money and especially paying off debt, though it is interesting to see how to maximise happiness from purchases.
The only risk is that some might seek happiness a little to often through shopping. Drop a comment below!