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Can Spending Money Increase Happiness?

June 25, 2015

I just spent $175 to hang out on an island for 48 hours, sleep on the ground, and hike around with a backpack weighing close to that of a two year old.  Was it money well spent?  You better believe it.  Did my happiness increase? It most certainly did.  Why is that?  Well, after doing some research, the evidence was clear. 



The conundrum of money, and its correlation to happiness, is something that's been studied by social scientists and psychologists for years.  (Of course, there is a TED Talk that focuses on this.) Recently, Harvard professor Michael Norton and co author Elizabeth Dunn decided to figure out how to best spend money to achieve happiness.  They published their findings in their new book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.  This book focused on five core principles on how to spend money to increase personal happiness. I've listed the principles below, and I recommend checking out TIME's article on this topic, since it provides further explanation for each core principle. 


Via Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending


1. Buy Experiences- Traveling is a prime example of this.  Buy things that you can reflect on later with positive thoughts. 


2. Make it a Treat- Shout out to all of the Netflix binge watchers out there!  STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.  If your mind knows you can't have access to something then it will appreciate it more when you do have access to it.  


3. Buy Time- Where do I go to purchase this?  Target, Vons?  Click this link if you want to know more.


4. Pay Now, Consume Later-  This TED Talk hits the nail on the head. (Don't eat the marshmallow!)


5. Invest in Others- To me, this should be number 1 or 2, depending on your personality.  By giving back to others, our happiness levels increase drastically.  Don't believe me?  Adam Grant, the youngest tenured professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote about this in his book titled Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. ( I just bought it off Amazon for $3; talk about a way to increase happiness through spending!)


So when you get your next paycheck, think about the endless possibilities of how spending your hard earned money can result in you being a happier individual. 




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