Are You Spending Money Authentically?
Do you ever spend money to impress other people—friends, family or peers?
Or do you weigh every money decision by the long-term benefits and joy it will bring you?
The answer is probably both. Most of us have probably done the former at some point in our lives. But if you’re firmly planted in the latter camp, a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science, says you’re probably a happier person overall than those who spend to impress.
When your spending matches your personality, you have a better sense of overall well-being because your spending (and perhaps your daily decisions along with it) meets your psychological needs.
This is what Cambridge University researchers found when they studied nearly 77,000 bank transactions of 625 people and compared their purchases to their personalities.
When it comes to money and happiness, spending according to your personality ranks even higher than how much money you earn, they found.
We already know from prior research that spending on experiences makes you happier than spending on “things.” This new finding takes it a step further, making the argument that we also need to make our spending decisions more authentic to us.
“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 study’s authors.
While those are big decisions that people typically think long and hard about, we don’t generally think too deeply about the small spending choices we make day in and day out.
But this is key.
Think of your money as a tool for self-expression. Spending authentically gives your money more meaning, and a higher purpose. Which is a reason to curb impulse spending and start making purposeful choices. Typically before we spend, we think “Can I afford this right now?” but a better question might be “Does this align with who I am and what I genuinely want in life?”
Every choice you make that is true to who you are gets you closer to happiness, fulfillment and making the impact you want.
What do you think? Is it hard to spend authentically? What’s your tactic? Let us know in the comments below.
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