WATCH: Science found a way for money to buy happiness

The secret to happiness is shopping! With a small catch. We know paying with cash makes us better savers, but a study shows that it also makes us much more satisfied with our haul. Why?

- The secret to happiness is shopping! With a small catch. We know paying with cash makes us better savers, but a new study published in The Journal of Consumer Research shows that it also makes us much more satisfied with our haul. Why?

The same reasons we buy less when we’re doling out actual currency- using cold hard cash forces us to take a cold hard look at our terrible spending habits. And watching the money leave our hands and walking away with a lighter wallet hurts.

It’s that sweet pain that makes us really appreciate our purchases. The creator of the study decided to investigate when she realized that her daily latte tasted better the one time she accidentally left her debit card at home. To see if the cash was the cause, she and her colleagues ran a series of experiments. In one, she sold mugs for $2 and made one group pay with cash and the other pay with plastic. When she tried to buy back the mugs- and let the test subjects set the price- the credit card users asked for almost double what they’d paid. Those who had used cash instantly morphed into Scrooges, asking for an average of $6.71 and some of them flat out refused to sell it back.

The emotional cost of paying with cash added to the perceived value of the object. It’s hard to beat the convenience of a card, but this little life hack could do wonders for your bank account AND your mood. Happy shopping.


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