Who’s in your neighbourhood?
What is the “geography of materialism”? Academic and author Ryan Howell blogs in Psychology Today that where you live may influence materialistic values, particularly for people living in affluent areas. Reminders of wealth, such as having neighbours who drive luxury cars, may make a person feel like they need to buy expensive objects as well. But Howell warns that studies suggest buying items – compulsive and impulsive spending – is not a path to happiness.
Tricking ourselves may be a way to increase how much we save for the future, blogs investing professional and “retirement champion” Jerry Patterson in Huffington Post. Patterson cites research from Harvard University that suggests economic behaviour is deeply rooted in DNA and many of us think of our future self as we would a stranger (with little or no connection to us now). But he writes that tricking ourselves or being “tricked by someone else” – such as an employer with automatic retirement fund enrolment – may help us get on track.
The way we shop has changed dramatically in the last decade, blogs professor of psychology and marketing Kit Yarrow in Psychology Today. Yarrow, author of Decoding the Consumer Mind, recalls a story of a shopper who gets a stressed call from her daughter on her mobile, which is enough to “exhaust her interest in the retailer”. She blogs that the stresses in life now mean many shoppers are more interested in “hassle reduction” and the shopping experience, rather than mainly focusing on products and prices.