In the long run, do cheap purchases make us happier than expensive ones?


When making expensive purchases (like vacations) we think about the money and what we’re getting. With cheaper stuff (going to the movies) we focus more on who we’re with. Focusing on relationships brings more long term happiness.

Via PRWeb (hat tip: Jennifer Aaker)

Statistical analysis showed that when considering inexpensive experiences, people’s main concern was with whom they would share the experience, preferring to do them with friends rather than family. For more luxurious experiences people were most concerned with the money they spent and the type of experience, while placing little importance on who accompanied them for the experience. The researchers concluded that inexpensive purchases might make people happier because they encourage people to focus on relationships, rather than money or prestige. “In terms of happiness, the relationships people build through shared experiences are more important than the experience itself” said Graham Hill, Community Manager of “This study shows that at lower price points, people pay more attention to what’s important – sharing the experience with others.”

There’s a second reason why you might want to indulge in more cheap purchases than fewer expensive ones: frequency beats intensity when it comes to happiness.

More on how to spend your money to increase happiness here.

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