“It is preoccupation with wealth, more than anything, that prevents us from living free and noble.” — Bertrand Russell
The relationship between money and happiness is complicated. Some studies have found that having more wealth is associated with greater well-being and a sense of fulfillment. It makes sense. Money offers more protection against the unknown, more options and opportunities, and a sense of greater control over our lives.
However, other research concludes that, beyond a certain level of income, money does little to increase happiness. a study found that emotional well-being only correlated with income of up to $75,000 per year (about $90,000 in current dollars). This is also understandable. Once we’ve met our basic needs and a little discretionary income, other things become more important than how happy we are.
This apparent conflict occurs because people differ greatly in what they care about and how they spend their money. Compare billionaire Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean with Warren Buffett’s home in Omaha, NE, which he has lived in since 1958 and is worth about $1 million.
Most studies agree that how we spend our money is more important to our happiness than how much we have. Here are four proven strategies for buying happiness.
1. Buy Experiences Instead of Things
Most people experience an initial rush of pleasure when they buy something, but as they adapt to the new possession, their enjoyment declines to its former level. Some people keep buying things to keep up with the excitement of a new purchase and are constantly disappointed; Material purchases rarely generate long-term happiness.
But spending money on experiences, especially memorable and enjoyable ones, can prolong our sense of well-being.
Experiences do more to increase our sense of happiness because we anticipate and remember them better. An upcoming vacation or dinner with friends can create positive emotions for hours, days, or weeks to come. And we remember more vivid and longer experiences than shopping; A 40-mile bike ride with friends is usually more memorable than buying a sweater. We don’t get bored with memories of experiences, but we quickly forget purchases.
Another reason we experience eclipse things is that they often involve other people, and we love social interaction. Humans are the most social species on the planet, and we want to be with each other. Therefore, purchases that increase satisfaction are those that generate experiences with others. A year ago, my wife and I bought a new house. It’s so much better than our old one for gathering and entertaining, so it’s made us happy by increasing the amount and quality of time we spend with our friends and family.
2. Spend money on other people
Many people are happy by spending money on others. A 2008 study in the journal Science Comparisons were made of how much people spend on others with their reported happiness levels. The researchers concluded that there was no association between happiness and the amount spent on self, while “higher professional spending was associated with significantly greater happiness.” Researchers strengthened this conclusion with an experiment in which participants were given money and asked to spend it on themselves or someone else. The group that spent their earnings on others reported greater happiness and self-satisfaction.
Spending money on others can be as straightforward as giving money to charity or buying gifts for holidays and birthdays. But there are other ways:
- Treat a friend to lunch or dinner.
- Bring bagels to your office so everyone can share.
- Buy a small gift for a loved one when there’s no holiday or birthday.
- Put money in someone else’s parking meter if it is running low on time.
3. Spend it on Small Pleasures Instead of Big Stuff
Which is better for boosting our happiness: a two-week vacation or several weekend trips? While a two-week vacation may sound more appealing, research suggests that shorter, more frequent trips make us happier.
We can explain this through evolution. Our survival as a species has always depended on adapting to the status quo. If a prehistoric human found himself in the woods all day for fruit and nuts – bored but alive – this was a situation he wanted to preserve. There was no reason to rush and do something different that could result in premature death. Therefore, we get used to a new status quo and return to our base level of satisfaction.
Lottery winners are initially happy but usually decline to their previous happiness state within two years. People who acquire a disability are initially less happy but often rise to their original level of happiness after a period.
So the holidays are exciting initially, but after a short period of time, we get used to being there, and the excitement wears off. Surprises and new experiences increase our sense of well-being the most, and these are sometimes best achieved with more frequent experiences and purchases rather than the big-ticket ones.
4. Use Money to Buy Time
The British economist, John Maynard Keynes, predicted in a 1930 essay that advances in technology and productivity would give us more free time. He predicted that his grandson would only work 15 hours per week. As we can all attest, this did not happen. Instead, we have had more pressure on our time, increased anxiety, and fewer senses of well-being and happiness, along with our wealth gains over the past 90 years. high income people experience more stress compared to others because they not only spend more time working to generate more of their income, but also use their money for more time-sucking activities such as buying more things and engaging in social activities Huh.
Buying time can reduce stress and increase happiness, but not all times are equal. Sitting on the couch alone will not make you happy; You should make good use of your time. Time spent on compulsive activities is less enjoyable than time spent on freely chosen ones, so the money spent on reducing obligations on our time is well spent. a 2017 Study supports this conclusion. Researchers gave volunteers $40 each on alternate weekends to save time and spend on material purchases. Participants reported less stress and a better mood after the time-saving purchases.
You can reduce the time spent on obligations such as yard work, house cleaning, grocery shopping and cooking, for example, by hiring a yard service, a cleaning service, Instacart and Doordarshan, respectively. In addition, people generally fall into the category of commuting on the low end of what they enjoy, so money spent at home close to work is the best investment in happiness you can make.