You are what you buy? How people who spend LESS on fashion are more cool


You are what you buy How people who spend LESS on fashion are more cool

By
Olivia Fleming

PUBLISHED:

16:38 GMT, 5 April 2012

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UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 5 April 2012

If you had $100 left in your wallet, would you go to dinner with friends or buy a new dress from H&M

How you answered could define your happiness, your likability, and your overall outlook on life.

Two recent studies have come up against the old adage 'money can't buy happiness', concluding that materialistic buyers were less happy, and even less liked, than experiential spenders.

Money can't buy happiness: Two recent studies have concluded that your overall outlook on life can be attributed to your spending habits

Money can't buy happiness: Two recent studies have concluded that your overall outlook on life can be attributed to your spending habits

People generally believe that being able to purchase material possessions will improve their lives.

However, psychological research suggests that people who spend money on travel, food and other cultural experiences were able to get along better with others, feel less anxiety in social situations and had a greater overall well-being than those who spent their money on a pair of this season's shoes.

Nearly 10,000 people answered online questionnaires about their personality and purchasing habits in a study conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University.

The results were published this January in the Journal of Positive Psychology, where researchers calculated that an 'experience shopper' had greater overall life satisfaction than a material consumer.

One of the reasons for increased happiness for experiential spenders, is that they are risk takers,
said Ryan Howell, an assistant professor at San Francisco State and the
study’s lead researcher.

'You are taking a bigger risk on a night at a
new restaurant or play,' he said. 'You can’t return a trip or a meal the way you can return something from a store.'

Another
reason, the researchers found, was that people felt a greater sense of
vitality or 'being alive' during the experience and then later, in
reflection, Howell said.

Key to happiness: Spending $1,000 on travel instead of a new pair of designer shoes leads to greater overall well-being a new study revealed

Key to happiness: Spending $1,000 on travel instead of a new pair of designer shoes leads to greater overall well-being a new study revealed

'As nice as your new computer is, it's not going to make you feel alive,' he said.

The initial joy
of acquiring a new object, such as a new outfit, fades over time after the person becomes accustomed to seeing it every day, experts said.

Experiences, on
the other hand, continue to provide happiness through memories long
after the event occurred.

Researchers believe their findings will be helpful in making people who naturally find themselves drawn to material purchases more aware that life satisfaction and happiness can be influenced by their spending habits.

This study reflected similar findings by researchers at the University of Colorado who found that materialistic buyers were less well-liked by their peers than experiential buyers were.

Published in 2010 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, participants expressed negative stereotypes of materialistic people, considering them to be more selfish and self-centered than experiential people.

While these impressions were mostly attributed to the inherent reputation of materialistic people, rather than an admiration for experiential people, participants said they found the
experiential shoppers more charismatic and wanted to spend time with
them.

By comparison, they found the materialistic shoppers shallow.

The stigma of materialism also led participants to dislike discussions based on materialistic, rather than experiential, purchases.

Experts also point out that people are less self-conscious when comparing experiences than they are when sharing stories of material possessions.

It will probably bother you more that your friend bought the latest Prada heels you have been coveting, than if she saw more historic and grand sights on her trip to India. You would probably like her more for it, too.