How To Buy Happiness



I’ve said it to my kids a hundred times “Money can’t buy you happiness” but is it true? … Can money buy you happiness? 

I have certainly felt happy after spending money to buy something or to pay for doing something. Sometimes that happiness lasts until the end of the smoothie and other times I can get years of enjoyment from spending some of my hard earned cash. One thing I’ve learned is that spending your money on experiences can make you happier than spending it on things.

The research seems to support this idea and the reasons are quite interesting.

When we spend money on things or products we are much more susceptible to comparison with other people’s things, or the disappointment of seeing the product at a cheaper price … Or some other kind of buyer’s remorse. We definitely get an immediate spike in happiness and in seeing and using our new products but that happiness tends to fade quite quickly.


Have you ever bought something and place it in your room and noticed that every time you walk in your eye goes to that new product. It looks awesome and you’re so happy you have it … But then a week or two later it just seems normal for it to be there. Your eye no longer focuses on it and you may still use the product and get some happiness from that but it’s certainly not like those first few days.

In fact over a few months the product may even deteriorate … The paint might be scratched or something else you’ve bought now no longer matches with it. Happiness from buying things fades quickly and you find yourself looking for the next thing to buy.

In one recent study, Cornell University researchers found that purchasing an experience tended to improve well-being more than buying a possession. Paying to do something can often lead to a longer period of happiness because first we have to plan what we want to do, when we’re going to do it and how. This can be quite enjoyable in itself as we imagine what we will be doing and we start to look forward to it. It can also help us to focus on what we really love rather than the mundane day-to-day of life … We may think about our friends and family who we will experience it with.


Then we have all the lead up time preparing for the experience. In the case of a big overseas trip for example, this could be six months of reading about locations, walking tours, planning our gadgets and packing which in a strange way bring its own happiness as we look forward to the experience.

We obviously then get to go on the adventure and this is usually a great time in itself … never perfect but either way we are creating memories that will add up to the sum of our life. People often describe experiences such as holidays and even adventures on a weekend, or a club they are involved in as some of the happiest times in their lives .. .I know I do!

Finally we get happiness from reminiscing with friends and family about our experiences and some of this can still bring of happiness 10 or 15 years later. When we look back over our lives we remember those key memories and experiences … Very few people on their deathbed wish that they had bought more stuff.

So if money can buy you any happiness, it’s clear that it can be maximised by investing in creating memories with friends and loved ones through buying experiences rather than possessions.

What brings you happiness?




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School Mum

Being a mum to 3 kids (one of them full time at home with me) and trying to juggle everything became pretty crazy.

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