Spending Money On Expensive Stuff Can Make You Happier, If You Do It For The Right Reason

Buying designer items and taking extravagant vacations are often criticized for providing only fleeting happiness. But a new study to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggests otherwise.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Texas A&M University found that luxury goods, expensive meals and even pricey tropical excursions can help provide long-term happiness, if you spend the money for the right reasons.

The key to getting the greatest satisfaction from luxury goods: Set broad goals about what you hope to get out of these splurges — even for your new Louis Vuitton LVMUY, >-0.50%   tote — rather than putting too much weight on what they will bring you in terms of compliments or self-esteem.

People may take a vacation to free themselves from the pressures of work for seven days rather than simply being open to whatever happens next.

Sometimes, people make purchases with a goal that’s too specific: Copying a celebrity’s look, for example, rather than simply wanting to look and feel good. People may take a vacation to free themselves from the pressures of work for seven days rather than being open to whatever happens next. That is, happiness is a journey — not a destination.

Being more open-minded about why you spend money could make all the difference. “A general happiness goal can leave a longer-lasting positive emotional imprint,” said Rohini Ahluwalia, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota and author of the study. In other words, you should treat yourself and to live in the moment.

Also see: Does winning the lottery make you happier?

Researchers split the study’s 87 college student participants up into three groups: One group that described an important purchase they made to increase their overall happiness in life, and two groups that described purchases linked to specific goals.

They provided three surveys — one about the initial purchase, another two weeks later and the last two weeks after that — asking participants how the purchase brought them joy at those points in time.

All participants reported similar levels of happiness at the time of their purchases, but the group with more general goals reported being the happiest as time passed. The difference was significant at the six-week mark, the study found. The same was true for people who purchased and listened to a new song. The happier group was even prepared to pay more for the song.

Other ways to buy happiness: Studies show people get greater satisfaction from their money if they pend on other people, pets and experiences, and have the luxury to buy their way out of household chores and other tasks they don’t want to do themselves.

More from MarketWatch



Alessandra Malito is a personal finance reporter based in New York. You can follow her on Twitter @malito_ali.

We Want to

Hear from You

Join the conversation

Source : https://www.marketwatch.com/story/spending-money-on-expensive-stuff-can-make-you-happier-if-you-do-it-for-the-right-reason-2018-09-19

Spending money on expensive stuff can make you happier, if you do it for the right reason
13 things you're spending too much money on
Here's How Money Really Can Buy You Happiness
Spend Money Where You Spend the Most Time
How Does Slack Make Money?
How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy?
Retirees: Go Ahead and Spend More in the Go-Go Years
5 Reasons You're Earning More Money and You're Still Miserable
5 Ways Money Can Buy Happiness, Backed by Science
Travel guru Rick Steves shares 10 tips to save you money, time, and stress when you're on vacation