They say “Money can’t buy happiness” and for the most part the research supports this wisdom. When you get a raise or financial windfall, you are happier for a short time, but you quickly readjust to the same level of happiness you were before you became financially better off. One of the characteristics that helped humans evolve is the ability to adapt quickly to any new circumstances whether positive or negative. So we adapt to our new found money and it will take increasingly higher amounts of money to boost our happiness the second and third time.
But there is a way money can buy happiness. It is found in how we spend the money. Research has shown that spending money on other people makes us happier than spending it on ourselves. It creates a virtuous circle where we spend the money on someone else and become happier which makes us want to spend more on someone else which further increases our happiness. More good news, we don’t have to spend a lot of money on someone else. The amount of money is not as important as choosing someone besides ourselves to spend it on.
4 Ways your money can buy happiness:
- Buy coffee for a friend and spend a few minutes talking – you are giving and building positive relationships which give you a double dose of happiness.
- Pay for the person in line behind you – random acts of kindness are fun and make us happier.
- Donate money to a charity – even small donations make you feel good about giving.
- Spend money on experiences like vacations – they create memories that add to your happiness for years to come. Especially if they include friends and family.
- Plan your experiences months in advance. The anticipation of spending your money on a great experience will provide happiness before the money is even spent.
Small amounts of money spent in the right ways can buy you happiness. So don’t wait on a financial windfall to be happy. Find ways today to budget happiness into your current income level. It is not how much, but how you spend it, that makes you happy.
“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you ice cream and that is almost the same thing.” Unknown