Magazine article Work & Family Life

Best Bet.Do Something Fun with a Friend!

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Best Bet.Do Something Fun with a Friend!

Article excerpt

Choosing between some new clothes or a pair of concert tickets? Buy the tickets, suggests a study on whether our spending habits are likely to make us happy.

To test the old claim that we're more fulfilled by experiences than by material goods, psychologists LeafVan Boven of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University conducted a national survey on discretionary spending. They found that respondents were much more likely (57% versus 34%) to claim that experiential purchases such as vacations or tickets to a concert made them happier than material ones such as jewelry or clothing, even after taking into consideration differences in price.

Since some purchases are both material and experiential and people have very different notions about "wants" and "needs," the researchers asked respondents to think of specific purchases they had made "with the intention of advancing their own happiness. …

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