Photo by cohdra, via Morguefile.comWhat is the reason that money doesn’t always correlate with happiness? New research shows that most people make lousy spending choices.

A trio of researchers — Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia, Daniel Gilbert of Harvard and Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia — have identified eight practical ways that shopping and spending can increase happiness.

Some of the noteworthy tips are:

  1. Buy experiences instead of things.
  2. Donate because it feels good.
  3. Buy more smaller items rather than one big one.
  4. When comparison shopping, focus on a couple features that matter most

The original paper, written in plain language and published this week in the Journal of Consumer Psychology (with lots of footnotes), can be downloaded (PDF) from the University of British Columbia.

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