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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

I'm sure you have heard of the age-old saying, "Money doesn't buy happiness," but what if it could? Isabella Kwai reported in the Atlantic that studies have shown that money actually can buy happiness.

It has been found that money used to purchase social experiences can actually increase your happiness levels. Now, I want you to take note that there are a few keywords there.

The Nuances of Purchasing Happiness

First, "experiences." We have talked about the hedonic treadmill theory before. This is the tendency that humans revert to their original level of happiness after growing accustomed to a purchase. It has been found that people revert back to that initial happiness level faster after a material purchase rather than an experience. Essentially, it is easier to get used to a new bedspread than a zip-lining tour in Costa Rica.

The second keyword is "social." While studies have shown that experiences offer more happiness, social experiences offer more happiness than solitary experiences. Therefore, a fancy dinner for one provides less happiness than dinner for two or three.

So, when trying to use money to buy happiness, the highest-ranking purchases are social experiences.

Buying Happiness & Your Personality

So, yes. Social experiences rate the highest, but that is still a fairly broad category and it has a major contingency.

Your personality plays heavily into how this theory works, especially in the differences between extroverts and introverts. Introverts tend to prefer quieter experiences, like a trip to a bookstore or a picnic in the park with a couple of friends, whereas an extrovert may enjoy a concert or a night on the town with a big group of people.

So, if you are thinking about trying out this idea, I caution you to think carefully about your personality and which experiences you would actually enjoy.

When Money Can’t Buy Happiness

It is essential to note that your monetary savings and happiness correlate. If you are deep in debt or don't have that much padding in your bank account, buying experiences will likely just add more stress. Therefore, if that is where you are in life, focus on finding free experiences to enjoy and continue adding to that savings account.

Want to Learn More about Creating Everyday Happiness?

If you want to learn the science behind happiness and how you can implement it into you life, I encourage you to subscribe to my podcast, Everyday Happiness. For just a few minutes a day, you learn techniques to heighten your happiness and those around you!

Until then, let’s connect on social at @everydayhappinesswithkatie and join the community on the hashtags #IntentionalMargins and #everydayhappinesswithkatie on Instagram. Plus, make sure you are following us over on Instagram!

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