Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Zopa - The ice Cream index

It’s the little things in life that make is the most happy

Now I have always believed that the best things in life are free and a little goes a long way if you value the truly important things. This is especially true in the Summer holidays where you have to make every penny count while you spend quality time with your children.
It isn’t what you spend but how you spend it as they say which is why I found the results from a survey by Zopa - research by Zopa, the FeelGood MoneyTM company really interesting.

They commissioned behavioural analyst Darius Lucas to carry out ground breaking research to help people make the most of their money over the summer months. The unique research asked Britons to consider 100 summertime spends and give them a happiness rating out of 1,000. Items ranged from the simple - a humble ice cream, to the extravagant - a £1,000 weekend in New York.

The scores were then weighted alongside the cost of the items to reveal summer’s top list of feel good purchases in the ‘Ice Cream Index’. The score was also influenced by how long it took people to decide; hovering over an item for a longer time led to a lower score. All very scientific, I know!

The results show that it’s the little things in life that give us the biggest feel good factor. With reading ‘a book’, eating ‘a home-cooked family meal’ and having ‘cocktails at happy hour’ scoring higher than ‘a high-tech’ toy and ‘a holiday in New York’. Oh er! Now, I think personally I’d prefer a holiday to New York than dinner, but then again not many people like Cities….

Summer of experiences

Experiences rather than products give people more happiness for the same amount of money, with holidays beating expensive tech items.

People also report higher happiness levels from items they use on a regular basis than from something they only use once, or less frequently but which costs the same. For example, a Netflix subscription makes us happier than a one-off rejuvenation treatment, and we prefer an unlimited phone contract to a music festival.

“This is consistent with ‘reinforcement theory’”, says Darius Lucas. “Longer-lasting items provide more reinforcement opportunities, or events that associate that item with positive emotional reactions. So people learn to expect happiness when they think of these items.”

Furthermore, items directly associated with physical pleasure give more happiness than items that aren’t – for example, we favour a comfy sofa or relaxing Jacuzzi over a designer watch or high-tech drone. “This is an example of the availability ‘bias’ or ‘heuristic’,” says Lucas, “where we have a mental shortcut to something because we’ve already experienced it.” Well, I can’t argue with that!
Do you agree with the results? What are the small things that make you feel all fuzzy and happy inside? Let me know below!

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