Buy experiences — Material things from big houses to fancy cars turn out to provide less happiness than experiential purchases like trips, concerts and special meals. Make it a treat — Limiting our access to things we really like may help invigorate our appreciation and enjoyment from them.
Buy time — By permitting ourselves to outsource dreaded tasks, money can change how we spend time allowing us to pursue more enjoyable things. Instead of cleaning on Saturdays, I pay someone to do it so I can go bike riding with my kids. Pay now, consume later — Delaying consumption allows spenders to enjoy the anticipation think of the enjoyment you experience ogling the dessert case or thinking about the upcoming trip without the buzzkill of reality.
Invest in others — New research shows that spending money on others produces more happiness than spending money on oneself. But my year old and year old felt great joy this Saturday running a book swap to raise money for Room to Read.
The objective is not to just pick one principle but rather apply as many as possible to each spend. They have a cumulative effect. That is, the more principles you apply to any given purchase, the more happiness you will reap. My daughter is going to university next year and after completing the task of choosing which university she would attend, she is now going through the stress of selecting the best residence option.
I was happy to share with her the study that Dunn and Norton conducted about happiness and residences. At Harvard, first-year students are randomly assigned to one of twelve different residences.
Some of them are beautiful, spacious and centrally located. While others are, well, not! It was no surprise that their research found that students expected to be much happier living in the beautiful, spacious, centrally located residences.
What was a surprise however was that students who actually did live in those desirable locations ended up no more happy than those who landed in the less desirable locations. It was the experience of the residence life itself, not the location or building that made them happy. Ninety percent of Americans link home ownership to living the American dream. If the largest material purchase most of us will ever make gives us no increase in happiness, maybe we should rethink this dream.
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What did increase happiness was trading in that mortgage for experiences. People who spend more of their money on leisure report greater satisfaction with their lives. One thing that brings me happiness is great chocolate. There are 10 stores within 5 minutes of my house that sell great chocolate. But if I bought it every day, would I enjoy it as much each time I ate it?
Unfortunately it is simply a fact that the more we are exposed to something, the more its impact diminishes. The solution? Make it a treat.
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By saving the really good stuff for celebrations, it becomes a treat and something I savor. Get the Stitcher App Send a link to your phone to take your podcasts on the go. We Sent You a Link Did you get it? Retry Close. Start Free Trial. Show Info.
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