If shopping makes you happy, fear not. Despite being taught to not rely on materialistic things to find pleasure in life, a new study from Cambridge University proves that money can in fact buy happiness.
The research group tested the personalities of 625 subjects and analyzed their bank transaction data over the course of six months. The results showed that a person’s spending habits correlated to whatever personality traits they exhibited most.
The algebra goes something like this: Spending was divided into 60 different categories, while personality traits were restricted to just five—conscientiousness (self-controlled vs. easygoing), extroversion level (outgoing vs. reserved), openness to experience (artistic vs. traditional), neuroticism (prone to stress vs. stable), and agreeableness (compassionate vs. competitive).
The researchers, who described the study as “groundbreaking,” concluded that people who spend money on things that suit their personalities are happier than people who don’t.
For example, the study found that people who are highly conscientious spend the most on health and fitness; people who are agreeable spend the most on charities and pets; people who are neurotic spend the most on traffic fines and gambling; people who are extroverted spend the most on entertainment and travel; and people who are open spend the most on hair and beauty.
“Our findings suggest that spending money on products that help us express who we are as individuals could turn out to be as important to our well-being as finding the right job, the right neighborhood, or even the right friends and partners,” said Sandra Matz, one of the Ph.D. candidates who conducted the study. “By developing a more nuanced understanding of the links between spending and happiness, we hope to be able to prove more personalized advice on how to find happiness through the little consumption choices we make everyday.”
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Does buying things you love make you happy? Let us know in the comments below!