Does spending money make you happy?

Written by Briana Cavanaugh

October 13, 2010

<a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html?_r=1″>This article about happiness and money</a> has a great point. What you spend money on, how you spend it and even when you spend money makes a difference in your happiness, they say.

Of nine major categories of spending, only leisure spending has an effect on happiness. In addition, those same activities are likely to increase the closeness of social ties making us feel more warm and fuzzy whether it’s with family, friends or a larger community.  Basically, spending disposable dollars on making yourself actually feel good, makes you feel better long-term. In a way it seems strange to even talk about. But watching people in malls or on teevee, that doesn’t seem to be the accepted social norm.

There are a couple of things that I’ve realized in my own spending that have made a big difference in my happiness. Spending money on experiences is where it’s at for me. I feel a lot more fulfilled going on trips to see friends, workshops, and lessons, etc than buying things. I always thought it odd that people liked to spend money on things – they break, take up space and go away, but my experiences and pictures are things I have forever. But the thing about buying things is that it reacts in your brain very quickly and hence you get a dose of chemical happiness. But that chemical is more like a reaction to drugs, than happiness.

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