How You Can Actually Buy Happiness

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What science says you should really be spending your money on.

If you want to be happy, you should spend your money on experiences rather than things.

A 20-year study by Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University discovered that people should not spend money on things if happiness is the goal.

According to Gilovich, there are three main reasons why material things don’t make us happy:

  1. The novelty of new items eventually wears off.

  2. We are bound to want to buy a newer, better replacement of an item.

  3. We are prone to compare our possessions to others and get jealous.

Just because the possessions we buy might last a while doesn’t mean the happiness we derive from those possessions will last just as long. In fact, it almost never does.

If you want to spend your money on something that will provide longer-lasting happiness, focus on acquiring experiences rather than possessions.

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There are a few main reasons why experiences — no matter how brief — make us happy:

  1. Experiences become a part of our identity.

  2. It’s harder to quantify and compare your experiences to others and get jealous.

  3. The planning and anticipation of an experience can cause enjoyment before you’ve even spent any money on it.

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So while your tangible possessions might last longer than intangible experiences, the memories that linger from them are the true key to happiness.

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