Food, Travel Purchases Will Make You Happy

Staff Writer
'Experiential' purchases linked to happier, extroverted personalities, study says

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Good news, your latest food expense or the latest trip you have planned won't make you feel so guilty for spending! A new study shows that those who spend their hard-earned bucks on food and travel are more extroverted and adventurous, and overall happier.

The New York Times reports on a study done by San Francisco State University, which asked participants in an online questionnaire about their personalities and spending habits. Those who spent on "experiential purchases," as in a meal at a fancy restaurant or a weekend getaway, showed a higher overal "life satisfaction" than those who spent on material items. The study's abstract reads: "experiential purchasing may be a function of one's sensitivity to rewards, emotional responsiveness to events, and appreciation of the world's beauty."

The results also showed that the experiential spenders were less anxious in social situations and got along with people better. In the same manner, a 2010 study from the University of Colorado showed that experiential spenders were more liked by their peers than materialistic buyers.

The reasoning behind the happy foodies and travelers, say the researchers, is the element of risk: those willing to spend the big bucks on a meal or a trip can't exactly get their money back. Said researcher Ryann Howell., "You are taking a bigger risk on a night at a new restaurant or play... You can’t return a trip or a meal the way you can return something from a store." So if you're thinking of heading to New Orleans or Seattle, or just getting a great meal at Michael Mina or another great California restaurant, don't fret — it's for your mental health.