Tips & Advice

Reflecting on Experiential Purchase Inspires More Gratitude

by: Chris O'Shea

As the new year gets underway, you're probably knee-deep in resolutions. The goal for them all? A better version of you. And while eating healthier is great, a new study says that if you really want to be a better person, it's time to adjust your spending habits.

Thomas Gilovich Ph.D., professor of psychology at Cornell University and co-author for a new study on gratitude, found that when people spend money on experiences (e.g. travel, meals out, tickets to events) — and not material goods (clothing, furniture, jewelry) — they feel more grateful.

As Money reports, for the study, Gilovich and his team conducted a series of experiments to measure how grateful people felt after making purchases. In one test, the team studied more than 1,000 online reviews from Amazon.com. Half of the reviews were for experiences; half for products. The former received better reviews than the latter. In another test, the researchers asked participants to rate how grateful they were for a recent experiential or material purchase that cost more than $100. The experiential purchases were rated higher (an average of 7.36) than the material purchases (average of 6.91).

"When you come home from a vacation, you are likely to say, 'I feel so blessed I got to go,'" Gilovich states. "People say positive things about the stuff they bought, but they don't usually express gratitude for it—or they don't express it as often as they do for their experiences."

Not only did Gilovich find that buying experiences made people more grateful, the study showed it helped with generosity too. In one of the experiments, those who had just made experiential purchases were more charitable to strangers than those who had just made material purchases.

The next time you open your wallet, it might be worth considering this report. Opt for an experience, not a product. Chances are you — and someone else — will be much happier as a result.

Source: SavvyMoney Checkup