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Fri July 26, 2013
Three Ways Our Spending Habits Are Totally Wrong
It's not just the pursuit of more money that can buy unhappiness. We could be funding our misery with the hard-earned cash we already have. Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, studied how spending habits bear on quality of life for her book Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. And she appeared Thursday on KERA's Think with Krys Boyd. Here are three key takeaways.
1. Too many splurges on the small pleasures -- nail appointments, expensive coffee -- can ruin the experience.
Even if you can afford to stock your calendar and cabinets with favorites, Dunn says overkill will dull your appreciation of those little things more than de-stress you on the regular.
"It turns out that abundance is kind of the enemy of happiness," she tells Krys Boyd.
2. The new place will wear off -- and so will carefully chosen maple hardwoods.
"One of the most surprising findings in the research that we did is that owning a home or moving to a newer, nicer home seems to have little to no bearing on happiness," Dunn says.
And all those Saturdays spent laboring (and arguing, perhaps) over details -- the kitchen backsplash tile, which gloss of sage green wall paint -- may prove wasted when the novelty's gone.
"These fine-grain distinctions between various products end up having less of an impact on our happiness that most of us tend to assume," she says.
3. Just because you can make the long drive to work doesn't mean you should.
Hacking a long commute to work is almost as bad as being unemployed when it comes to our happiness, Dunn found.
Listen to the full podcast of the conversation here.