New Study Suggests That Retail Therapy Is Real—If You Buy the Right Things

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We've all heard it before: Happiness isn't something you can buy from a store. But according to one recent study reported by The Telegraph, this rule has some notable exceptions. 

For their study, published in the journal Psychological Scienceresearchers from the University of Cambridge analyzed more than 76,000 spending transactions made by 625 individuals in the UK. What they found was that buyers whose purchases were in line with their personality types were more likely to feel happier overall. 

Participants who tested strongly for extraversion, for example, were happiest when they put their money towards entertainment and travel. The more conscientious subjects were happy when investing in health and fitness, and the "agreeable" subjects who were happiest spent their money on pets and charities.

These findings suggest that spending money can actually bring people higher levels of happiness, contrary to the popular mantra. But the heart of the cliché does get one thing right—more money doesn't necessarily equal more happiness. It didn't matter how much money the participants were making or spending; as long as they were spending it on the right things, they were found to be happier. 

Previous research has shown that while money does have an impact on well-being, happiness levels tend to plateau once you reach a certain income level. This is one of the first studies to suggest a quality-over-quantity approach to spending, and it could be used by researchers to better understand the secrets to happiness. 

[h/t The Telegraph]