Do you buy stuff that reflects your personality?

You may be surprised to learn that many consumers often buy things that aren't necessarily in line with their personality.

Why would they do this, you might ask?

For starters, many people do it to fit in. For example, those who don't drink alcohol might still spring for a glass of wine at a Happy Hour event -- just so they can blend in with the crowd a bit more easily.

Others might fork over the money for these purchases when it's something they can share with other people. You might be a museum hopper while your partner has no interest in such places. Still, he or she might purchase two tickets to the local art museum and take you there on your birthday.

Studies have found that whether they buy material items like expensive watches or life experiences like vacations to the Bahamas, many consumers find themselves no happier following the purchase than they were before.

Why? Chances are that the purchased doesn't align with their values and personality.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I awaited the new year at Ruth's Chris, one of the priciest steak houses in town. While the food was great and the service stellar, something just didn't feel right about spending well over $100 on two entrees (mind you, we didn't order drinks).
I'm not accustomed to spending that much on dinner, and would have felt more in my element dining at an Outback or LongHorn, both of which offer equally good food at much cheaper prices.

I suppose that when I see so many people starving in the world, I feel guilty indulging in so decadent a meal. The same goes for shelling out cash for expensive products ranging from watches and shirts to TV sets and cars.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with splurging every now and then, but I try not to make it a habit. Indeed, I've noticed that buying brand name stuff makes me no happier than purchasing cheaper items.

I've always been fairly simple when it comes to buying things. It helps that I'm the furthest thing from a show-off. Expensive items really suit people who are known to be flashy. That's just not me, though.

In sum, it makes sense that people who dig baseball will find buying tickets to a game a much more worthwhile investment of their money than those who fall asleep through the action.

What we consume is a reflection of our values and personality. It's one part of the composite "brand" -- our brand -- that we showcase every day to the world.

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