The temptation is huge.
Those shoes, that takeaway, that game that looks amazing. Those one-off instant gratification purchases that seem to start every pay day and are the reason you eat beans on toast for seven days prior to it.
It seems they don't make you as happy as if you spent money on a good meal out or a trip that you'll remember.
In one of the experiments for a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers surveyed participants before and after they bought something.
Prior to the purchase, respondents said that a life experience would make them happier but it made financial sense to buy an item.
After purchase they said that the life experience was also better value for money.
Ryan Howell, associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, said:
We naturally associate economic value with stuff. I bought this car, it’s worth $8,000. We have a hard time estimating the economic value we would place on our memories.
In another experiment respondents were asked to prioritise happiness or value in a purchase, when they prioritised happiness, they chose a life experience.
These results suggest that when people are considering material or experiential purchases they are balancing happiness and monetary concerns.
In short, don't buy that takeaway or a new phone. Get a meal at a restaurant you'll remember forever or save up for a holiday you'll cherish.