Most of us spend our life in the pursuit of happiness. We also spend the majority of our lives working to make money. But does all this striving to make more and more money actually make us happy?
In fact, research has shown that money can definitely make us happier, but perhaps not in the ways you’d expect. It’s true that if you’re struggling to get by financially, you’ll tend to be less happy than someone who is financially comfortable. But once our basic financial needs are met, studies have also shown that our happiness is actually decided by factors other than how much money we make. After all, we all know someone who has saved a lot of money and yet can’t seem to find happiness.
Researchers have found that after we hit a minimum income level where our basic needs are met, how we spend our money actually affects our happiness a lot more than how much we earn. For example, people who use their money to help others tend to be happier. But what about when you’re spending money on yourself?
It turns out that spending money on experiences makes us a lot happier than spending money on material goods. Unfortunately though, many people would rather spend money on material goods over spending on memorable experiences, especially when money is tight. It seems to stem from the idea that material goods are permanent, while experiences are fleeting. However, research shows that the joy received from a new material purchase quickly wears off, whereas the enjoyment of an experience lasts long after it’s over.
We put together an infographic summarizing some of the science on why spending money on experiences makes us happier than spending money on experiences. We hope you find it enlightening!