Research Shows That Spending Money On Experiences Makes You A Better Person

by Gizel Menezes
Research Shows That Spending Money On Experiences Makes You A Better Person

We all like to spend money on material goods, it makes us happy! Purchasing a new shirt, a new dress, a new car, new furniture, or any material possession fills our soul with glee until….. it gets old and the thrill fades away! Yes, the happiness is pretty short-lived and we find ourselves back to the same place to purchase something new. And the vicious cycle goes on!

But what about experiences? Think of the time you saved up to take a nice trip with your loved ones. Wasn’t it super memorable and makes you happy even now as you think about it? Well, that’s the thing about investing in experiences. They’re always worth it! And now, research shows that spending money on experiences rather than material objects makes you a better person.

Research Shows That Spending Money On Experiences Makes You A Better Person

Thomas Gilovich, co-author on this study published in the journal Emotion, says people who spend money on experiences not only tend to express more gratitude but also engage in a more generous behavior toward others, which ends up making them better human beings.

As part of his research, Gilovich and his colleagues looked at 1,200 online customer reviews – half of which were purchases made for the sake of ‘doing’ (like vacations, restaurant meals, cinema tickets), and half which were purchase made for the sake of ‘having’ (like clothing, furniture, jewelry). They found that reviews about vacations and meals were filled with positivity and gratitude than the reviews on clothing and furniture.

In another experiment, 297 participants were asked to think about a recent purchase over $100, including experiential and material purchases. They were then asked to rate how grateful they were for that purchase on a scale of 1 to 9. And not surprisingly, the experiential group reported higher scores (an average of 7.36) than the group that chose material possessions (average 6.91).

Image Courtesy: The Citizen

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Link Between Gratitude And Altruistic Behavior

Finally, to determine how gratitude stemming from a purchase affects people’s behavior toward others, the researchers performed two exercises. First, the participants were asked to think about a meaningful purchase, either experiential or material, for a few minutes. And second they were given a unrelated task of dividing $10 between themselves and an anonymous person.

Again, results showed that people who thought about an experience as a meaningful purchase ended up giving about $1 to $2 more, on average, than the group who thought about material possessions.

According to Amit Kumar, Co-author of the paper, this link between gratitude and good behavior “not only applies to the consumers of experiential consumption but also to others in their orbit as well.” Which is pretty cool!

The researchers conclude their paper by saying that “All one needs to do is spend a little less on material goods and a little more on experiences.” Because that will probably make us cooperate and show kindness to each other, which is the need of the hour right now!

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