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Money and happiness: What can make you happier, experiences or goods?

People have always sought to improve their levels of happiness and satisfaction from life.

person standing on the edge of a mountain

Nowadays people are richer than previous generations. They can consume more and have more opportunities for a wider range of experiences.

However, the question of whether people are happier today than before remains still unanswered. It is the subject of investigations and discussions by both researchers and philosophers. In times of economic crisis and redundancies, this issue becomes even more important.

In many people, there is a subconscious feeling that money can offer them happiness. However wealth and good quality of life do not always go together.

Despite the fact that many countries in recent decades have developed significantly and became richer, there has nevertheless seen a large increase in serious problems, such as drug addiction, psychological stress with depression, stress, anxiety, recurring frustrations, and other scourges.

It’s true that money alone isn’t enough to make us happy. But it is equally true that poverty does not help our happiness either.

This raises the question of how can we better spend our money to get more happiness?

At a time when money is becoming rarer, their most fruitful use is a very interesting subject. Money spent smartly can offer great rewards.

The duration of the rewarding feeling depends on what you bought with your precious money. The rewarding feeling is different if you bought material goods or experiences.

So, what makes us happier, material goods or experiences?

Have you ever wondered if you should buy a new computer with the money you have or go on holiday? Is it buying an experience that will make you happier or buying a material good?

The answers to these questions are complex and depend, among other things, on the materialistic component of each person’s personality.

The prevailing view is that people become happier if they spend their money on buying experiences (theatre, concerto, holidays) rather than buying material goods (fancy cars, bigger houses).

An interesting paper on the issue was done by scientists at the University of San Francisco. They looked at the views of volunteers who answered questions and expressed views on the recent purchases of experiences or goods they had made.

The researchers’ findings were as follows:

  1. The purchases of experiences accounted for the volunteers’ money, which they felt had spent better and that it was a source of greater happiness for both themselves and others.
  2. Experiences produce greater happiness regardless of the amount spent or the consumer’s income.
  3. Experiences lead to greater long-term satisfaction.

The researchers point that the experience market offers and creates for each person a chapter of good memories.

The chapter of our memory, called simply ”good memories”, is a powerful and timeless weapon that gives us strength and supplies for both the good and the bad periods of our lives.

Let us not forget, too, that we never get bored with the memories of happiness, and we are often bored with many material goods that we bought.

Scientists from the University of Washington, who have recently examined the issue, are offering us information on another interesting aspect of the issue. They investigated what happens when the market for experiences or material goods does not develop well.

In cases where the experience market (for example holidays) does not develop well then the negative effects are greater and last longer than the effects of a material goods purchase experience (for example buying a sofa), which did not develop well.

The researchers also found that people with a high level of materialism in their personality were just as happy with the successful market that evolved well and just as unhappy with the unfortunate purchase that did not go well regardless of whether the market was the experience or material goods.

Consumers, according to researchers from Washington, should be especially careful when buying experiences. Experiences that do not go well can create long-term feelings of unhappiness. On the contrary, purchases of material goods that did not end well, maybe less of a congener of misery feeling.

As we said at the beginning of this article, nowadays people are richer than before and it is easier than ever to, both, make more money online and offline. So if the chances of success buying experiences are high then the money is better used when it comes to holidays, concerts and other recreational activities than materialistic goods.

Featured Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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