Discover the surprising link between payment frequency and spending habits. Learn how prosocial spending boosts happiness and explore behavioural changes to manage financial stress. Find tips on automating savings and aligning payments with your paycheck for a smoother financial journey.

Unlocking Happiness: The Power of Prosocial Spending

Does spending money lead to happiness or stress? Research reveals that “prosocial spending,” where we spend on others rather than ourselves, can significantly increase feelings of joy (Aknin et al., 2020). As we approach gift-giving occasions like Christmas, the impact of these acts becomes even more apparent. However, financial difficulties can turn spending into a source of anxiety, affecting behaviour, mood, and mental health.

The Payment Frequency Puzzle: Dr. DelaRosa and Dr. Tully’s Insights

Ever wondered if how often you get paid influences your spending habits? Dr. DelaRosa and Dr. Tully’s research sheds light on this intriguing question. It turns out that payment frequency affects our perception of wealth. When paid more frequently, we tend to perceive ourselves as wealthier and, consequently, spend more. This insight is crucial for those who have the flexibility to choose their payment frequency, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Behavioural Changes for Stress-Free Spending

Acknowledge the Influence of Advertisements:

In a world bombarded with advertisements, managing spending can be challenging. Acknowledge the impact of marketing strategies on consumer behaviour and be mindful of your choices.

Automate Financial Decisions:

Take the stress out of financial planning by automating key decisions. Beyond paying bills, consider setting up automated savings. Allocate a fixed percentage of your income to be transferred into savings each month, eliminating the need for constant calculations.

Align Payments with Your Paycheck:

Streamline your financial processes by aligning automated payments with your payday. This minimizes the need for complex calculations and reduces stress associated with variable monthly incomes.

In a world where financial decisions can induce stress, understanding the psychology behind spending and implementing strategic changes can pave the way for a more enjoyable and stress-free financial journey. Master your money, boost happiness through prosocial spending, and adopt smart strategies to align your spending habits with your overall well-being.

If you or someone in your family needs help to manage their spending or suffers from financial anxiety, it may be a good idea to seek professional help.   

Elena Marinopoulou is a Behaviour Analyst with the Willingness Team. She works with children and adults and has a strong interest in parent training, sleep and feeding issues emerging during childhood, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.


Aknin, L. B., Dunn, E. W., Proulx, J., Lok, I., & Norton, M. I. (2020, August). Does spending money on others promote happiness?: A registered replication report. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(2), e15–e26.

Fairbank, R. (2023, June). How can behavioral science help our spending habits? 5 questions for Wendy De La Rosa.