Bob Ross Is A Terrible Financial Coach: Religious Spending Habits Revealed

A new set of studies pits God against oil painting in a bid to find out how religion impacts consumer spending habits.

With 75% of American consumers identifying with a religion, and with American adults being among the most religious in the first world, a series of five studies were undertaken over the last few years in order to understand why religiosity in an area causes annual grocery sales to decrease. That is, the authors were looking to understand the possible connection between a religious geographic area spending less on money than the stereotypical irreligious Los Angeles resident blowing their cash at Whole Foods.

The study lacks information on family size, so keep that in mind, but some of the points are worth considering if you sell products to conservatives who tend to be religious.

As for Bob Ross, the friendly painter (available on Netflix) may very well have been used as a baseline for comforting audiovisual to compare with a well-dressed man speaking about God:

“Half the participants watched a man dressed in a suit and tie talk about God’s omnipresence (without espousing a particular religion). The other half watched an artist give some tips on oil painting.”

And it turned out that when real money was on the line in the experiments, Bob Ross was not an adequate purveyor of frugality:

“Students who watched the video about God reported a higher level of frugality than those in the control group. Greater frugality in turn lowered students’ willingness to spend on the candy bars.”

Puts a new light on cheap breakfast deals after Mass, doesn’t it?

This mindfulness may explain our preference to buy pleasurable baked goods if proceeds go to charity, as well as our sensitivity to BOGO and discounts around religious holidays.

While a conservative brand might think that the Fourth of July or November 11th might be a good time for a sale of their patriotic merchandise, it may well be that their deals are better suited to religious holidays rather than earthly.

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