Money can help buy happiness, but not in the way you may think. Permanent happiness comes from transitive experiences while permanent goods only lead to temporary pleasure. Seems a bit counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?
When you purchase material goods, you may feel better in the moment as your body sends a surge of pleasure hormones through your body. That feeling is only temporary, even though the goods may persist. That new TV only brings intense positive feelings for a very short period before it simply blends in with the background, becoming one more thing to dust.
In contrast, investing money in experiences (ideally shared with others), leads to fun and pleasure in the moment and contributes to memories that persist well beyond. Experiences also help promote bonding, and having meaningful relationships has been shown to be a key contributor to happiness.
Since my divorce, I have been trying to make this happen in my life. I didn’t used to spend money on much of anything, but now I will allocate it towards experiences that I believe will make me happy. I purchased a membership at the botanical gardens and I frequently get to enjoy a garden I didn’t labor to create. I have run many races, both solo and with my boyfriend. I don’t hesitate to spend money to go to a concert or comedy show. These experiences (and their accompanying photos), have brought me endless smiles.
Besides, I’d rather go see Korn in concert or go camping in the mountains than have a new pair of shoes any day:)