Can Money Buy Us Happiness?

Posted on March 12, 2015

Photo: flickr

Money can't buy you happiness, goes the generally accepted wisdom that was probably made up by someone poor, who wanted to bring his rich friends down a few notches. Some scientific studies have agreed with that sentiment, while others have concluded that, yes, being rich helps with being happy. In any case, if you want to crack open your wallet and try to buy some happiness, there are some purchases that may lift your spirits (at least for a while).

Buy experiences, not things. Several studies in recent years, including a report published last year in the journal Psychological Science, have shown that buying experiences – like going on a skiing trip or taking an art class – makes us happier than material goods. Part of that is due to the anticipation of an experience, the study suggests, which is apparently more exciting than when you're waiting to buy merchandise like laptops and clothes.

Another reason paying for experiences can make us happier is that their value endures over time. That seems ridiculous at first. After all, if you buy new stuff, like a lamp, you might have that stuff until you die. If you go on a weekend trip with the family, it's over come Sunday. Arguably, that's why many people choose to buy things over spending money on doing something fun.

Still, unlike buying new clothes or a new electronic gadget, "We can savor the memories of a vacation for a lifetime," says James Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

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Source material from US News

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