How to “buy” happiness?

Can money buy happiness?

It is a natural tendency to think that more money can buy happiness. Turns out you don’t have to spend a fortune either. But, you are not going find it at the mall, nor will buying more stuff help spend your way to happiness.

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Instead, invest in experiences!

Research shows that spending money on experiences, like concert tickets, or cooking or yoga classes, or going out for dinner every once in a while, tends to result in folks being happier than those who spend on possessions.

Why? Its because people get more pleasure out of a social-type of experience.  Indeed, the benefits from these experiences start almost immediately.  Consider just having registered for a long awaited Thai cooking class (or upcoming music lesson, or stage performance). Although you need to wait to actually attend and participate in the event, people will experience anticipatory excitement prior to the event.  So, looking forward and anticipating the experience brings immediate joy and happiness. This anticipation experience is just as valuable a source of happiness as the event itself.

After the event, people experience continued pleasure from memories, even if it was a terrible event or experience! Research shows that people typically will remember things as being better than they were originally.  I guess that’s a good thing.

So, can money buy happiness? Well, it looks like when you use it to buy experiences rather than things and possessions doesn’t. Sorry, shopping too doesn’t line up with buying happiness.  Cha-ching!