Can money buy happiness? The relationship between money and happiness is complex. You may not be able to “buy” it outright, but the freedom to spend money on certain things can certainly lead to greater happiness. In other words, money can buy happiness if you spend it on the right things. So here are the things that are definitely worth saving for:
- Money helps lower stress associated with debt. According to some researchers, “personal debt (e.g., home loans, student loans and credit card debt) has a negative influence on overall subjective wellbeing.” However, not all debt is equal when discussing its relationship with happiness. Another study spoke to the stress of being in debt, especially when individuals owed money to financial institutions with higher interest rates. According to the analysts, “the emotional toll taken by debt varied with the degree to which an individual had other financial resources. A person whose debt was matched by investments or property had a security blanket to help them through.” People with resources often accrue debt, but having a financial security blanket significantly decreases the amount of stress that debt can cause.
- Money can buy experiences. Numerous studies have shown that it’s experiences, rather than material things, that bring us the most lasting happiness. One recent study by Cornell professor, Thomas Gilovich, asserts that experiential purchases create greater happiness because they enhance social relations, form a more significant part of an individual’s identity, and fall subject to fewer comparisons with others. “People often think spending money on an experience is not as wise an investment as spending it on a material possession,” according to Gilovich. “They think the experience will come and go in a flash, and they’ll be left with little compared to owning an item. But in reality we remember experiences long afterward, while we soon become used to our possessions. At the same time, we also enjoy the anticipation of having an experience more than the anticipation of owning a possession.” It looks like Americans are catching on. According to a recent survey by SunTrust, more Americans are saving money for travel than they are for emergencies.
- Money can help you learn new things which can lead to greater happiness. The happiness brought about by learning to play guitar, learning how to ski or learning any new skill takes money. Because humans are driven by challenges, learning is an integral part of achieving a state of happiness. According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” This describes his famous concept of “flow.”
- Money allows you to be charitable.Giving back to others and giving to worthwhile causes can lead to greater happiness. In fact, according to a recent study, there may be a neural link between generosity and happiness.
The next time you want to save up for that new car or a bigger house, consider spending your hard-earned money on the suggestions above. In the meantime, don’t let your bills get you down. Owing money to large corporate giants can bring down even the most happy people. Let Billshark help you save time and money. We guarantee it will make you happier.