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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Contributor
November 27, 2012

Sadness May Make You Spend More, Says Study

Here's another reason why it's important to turn that frown upside down. By Charlene J. Owen

We mentioned in an earlier article that the appearance of your money can determine the way you spend. This time, according to a new study, it appears that your emotions, specifically the negative ones, may also affect your bank balance.

A study featured on expounded on how frustrations and impatience brought about by sadness can pull your finances down. Jennifer Lerner of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and her colleagues Yi Le and Elke U. Weber of Columbia University analyzed data from random participants who were chosen to watch a depressing video.

The researchers learned that feeling down extended to how people handled their cash, as low spirits resulted in “financial decisions that elicited higher gains in the short term, but lesser gains over the longer term.” It was as if the participants were trying to lift their moods with immediate gratification.

In contrast, those who didn’t watch the video and had neutral emotions went for long-term goals rather than short-term benefits. 
Although retail therapy may act as a temporary salve to emotional wounds, being impulsive due to sadness isn’t good. Things tend to become simpler when you’re not emotionally overwhelmed.

(Photo by Phil and Pam Gradwell (to be) via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Charlene J. Owen
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