The consumers they are more happy when they spend money in experiencesInstead of more objects, they find two new studies.

“It would be unfair to compare a shirt to a trip, but when we consider the price, we continue to see the result that experiences are associated with greater happiness,” said lead author Amit Kumar, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Texas in Austin.

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One study included more than 2,600 adults, who were randomized to purchase material items or experiences. Material buyers purchased items such as jewelry, clothing, or furniture. Experiential shoppers spent the money on events, restaurants, or other experiences.

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Text messages were sent to participants throughout the day to monitor their purchasing behavior and emotions.

The conclusion: Participants who bought experiences felt more happiness, regardless of type or cost.

A second study with 5,000 participants investigated possible differences in types of consumers. Participants reported their happiness and whether they had used, enjoyed, or consumed a purchase in the previous hour. If they answered “yes”, then they answered a series of questions. The effect was the same.

If you want to be happier, perhaps the best thing to do is change part of your consumption of material goods to some experiences, “Kumar said in a press release from the university.

“This is likely to lead to greater well-being.”

Experiential consumers were found to be happier before, during and after a purchase, the researchers added. This may be due to the memories experiences create, the study authors suggested.

The research will be published in the May issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

More information

Harvard University School of Medicine offers more information on happiness and health.

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