3 Ways Love Costs You Money When You Shop

What's Hot

How to Cut the Cable TV Cord in 2017Family

8 Major Freebies and Discounts You Get With Amazon PrimeSave

8 Creative Ways to Clear ClutterAround The House

Study: People Who Curse Are More HonestFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Pay $2 and Get Unlimited Wendy’s Frosty Treats in 2017Family

Protecting Trump Will Cost Taxpayers $35 MillionFamily

The 3 Golden Rules of Lending to Friends and FamilyBorrow

6 Reasons Why Savers Are Sexier Than SpendersCredit & Debt

Resolutions 2017: Save More Money Using 5 Simple TricksCredit & Debt

Porta-Potties for Presidential Inauguration Cause a StinkFamily

Tax Hacks 2017: Don’t Miss These 16 Often-Overlooked Tax BreaksTaxes

5 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Pay Off 10 Years From NowCollege

When love tugs at your heartstrings, financial judgment typically flies out the window, according to researchers' findings.

You can’t put a price on love — but not putting a price on items that symbolize love can cost you a pretty penny, recent research shows.

A recap of three studies in the latest issue of the journal Judgment and Decision Making finds that when people are shopping for items such as engagement rings, cremation containers and birthday cupcakes, they:

  • Choose higher-price, higher-quality items over equally appealing lower-price, lower-quality items.
  • Search less for lower-priced items.
  • Are less willing to negotiate prices.

The researchers conclude:

“Our inquiry reveals that, when a purchase is symbolic of love, people are reluctant to seek cost saving options and thus spend more money than is necessary given the availability of lower cost (yet equivalent quality) items in the marketplace.”

Lead author Peter McGraw, associate professor of marketing in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, explains in a CNBC report that people are generally good about seeking out cost savings. But that process makes people “deeply uncomfortable” when associated with love:

“It just doesn’t feel right to be negotiating lower prices on a casket for your beloved grandfather.”

In one study, for example, participants imagined they were purchasing either a container for the cremation of a loved one (which the researchers referred to as a sacred purchase) or a container for the storage of a grandfather clock (referred to as a secular purchase).

The participants were less willing to search for a lower-priced alternative and more willing to search for a higher-quality alternative when purchasing the sacred.

Even in a study involving birthday cupcakes, the researchers found that participants were willing to pay “significantly” more for customized cupcakes when they were buying them for a loved one.

Over the course of a lifetime, such decisions can add up to five figures on up, McGraw tells CNBC:

“At the end of 60 years of spending, this is not hundreds of dollars, this is thousands and thousands of dollars. There’s an opportunity cost there.”

What’s your take on the researchers’ findings about how we shop for items that are symbolic of love? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 5 Music Streaming Services That Are Still Free

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,767 more deals!