Money can’t buy you happiness, the old saying goes.
But, maybe it can.
Many studies have found money can create some happiness – depending on how you spend it. Purchasing physical things for ourselves isn’t the ticket. Any good feelings from the purchase wear off quickly, and we are left with just more stuff.
To boost our happiness, we need to get away from buying things. Instead, we can:
Invest in others.
Behavioral scientists have discovered we get more out of our money when we give to others, whether it is buying coffee for a friend or making a donation to charity. When we give to charitable causes, the part of our brains associated with pleasure triggers the release of endorphin’s or “happiness hormones.” Even a dollar donation can make a difference.
Spend on experiences.
Studies have shown when we spend the same amount of money on an experience as on a tangible item, the experience makes us happier in the long run. It doesn’t matter if the experience is a deluxe ski vacation or coffee with a friend. Experiences are often shared with family and friends, deepening our connections with others. These connections help boost our positive emotions.
A recent study found when we buy timesaving services such as house cleaning, lawn mowing and grocery shopping, our happiness level rises. This may be related to a reduction in stress. Today, people are hiring virtual assistants to help with other mundane tasks.
The amount of money we have does not matter. Nor does where we live. Researchers have found people in all income levels all over the world experience greater happiness when they invest in others, pay for experiences, or buy themselves time.
Although we can spend to increase our happiness, we still need to meet our basic needs, save for the future, and keep our spending in check. When we spend beyond our means, we create debt which can lead to stress. This will certainly negate any emotional boosts.
Want some more happiness? Try being more selective about where and how you spend your money.
If you would like to read more about this topic, here are some interesting articles discussing the link between money and happiness;
Need A Happiness Boost? Spend Your Money To Buy Time, Not More Stuff, National Public Radio
Science Proves It: Money Really Can Buy Happiness, Los Angeles Times
Research: Can Money Buy Happiness? Insights by Stanford Business
Can Money Buy You Happiness? The Wall Street Journal
This blog is published to provide you with general information only, and is not intended to provide specific or comprehensive advice. Money Care, LLC encourages individuals to seek advice from competent professionals when appropriate.