Money may not be able to buy you love, but it can buy you happiness if you spend it the right way.
Obviously, we don’t get much joy from spending money to get our taxes done, but what about buying a new car or splurging on a vacation? According to PsychologyToday.com, a study published in last month’s issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that spending money can boost your happiness if that money goes toward “purchases designed to create positive experiences.”
That may sound vague (it is), but essentially this encompasses all the times you pay for activities and “experiences,” rather than just spending on the necessities. In fact, after polling 5,000 households, the study found that consumers get the most pleasure by spending smaller amounts on multiple activities rather than dumping tons of money into one big event. The example that PsychologyToday offers is that people claim to be more satisfied when they attend a few cheaper concerts by local bands rather than just going to one expensive concert during the same period of time.
“It is better to spread the positive experiences out than to try to achieve one ‘peak’ experience,” PsychologyToday notes. There are a couple common sense reasons for why this may be. From my own personal experience, the bigger the price tag is for an event, the more I’m likely to be consumed by money worries before and after and sometimes during the activity. That can seriously affect my ability to enjoy it. Plus, you’ll generally feel more satisfied with your life from week to week if you’re doing something small for yourself, rather than slaving away for months to afford that one big splurge. After all, would you rather take one nice vacation a year, or take a bunch of little ones every month?