Happier Spending

Posted on June 26, 2013

SQUARE WALLET, an innovative new app, is changing the way we spend our money. Here’s how it works: you link your credit or debit card to the app, shop, take your items to a cashier at a participating retailer and, as the company’s Web site says, “simply say your name at checkout to pay.” Your name and photograph appear on the register, the cashier gives you a nod, and you walk happily out the door with your artisan shade-grown organic coffee.

This kind of seamless convenience has obvious benefits. But it may come with hidden costs. The iPad (which placed ahead of world peace in a 2011 poll of what people might wish for) and other electronics make it possible for us to get movies, games and books the moment we want them and to worry about the money later. It’s a payment system that encourages instant gratification. Interestingly, however, research suggests that we derive greater happiness from goods we pay for immediately, but don’t use for some time, than we do from goods we use now but pay for later.

Delayed pleasure not only increases anticipatory excitement but can also enhance the pleasure once it is eventually enjoyed. In one study, students chose to eat a Hershey’s Hug or a Hershey’s Kiss, but some had to wait 30 minutes before they could eat the candy they chose; others could eat it immediately. Those who had to wait were more likely to fantasize about the chocolate and to visualize what it would be like to sink their teeth into it. And fantasies matter. Waiting enhanced enjoyment and also increased people’s desire to buy more chocolate.

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Source material from New York Times

Mental Health News