Folium: You Can Buy Happiness, If It’s an Experience via NPR
There is a common proverb that you have probably heard that reads; “money can’t buy happiness.” Well I beg to differ. You can buy happiness, but the happiness depends on what you spend your money on.
Advertising tries to catch your eye each time a new tablet or cell phone is released, but spending your money on those material things is not what is bringing you true happiness. A study, called Waiting for Merlot: Anticipatory Consumption of Experiential and Material Purchases, tracked about 100 college students and over 2,200 randomly selected adults about how they felt about material goods and experiences. As a college student myself, I feel the urge to spend my money on things that may bring me short-term happiness, but from this study, I learn that experiences are the things I should be spending my money on.
“Experiential purchases (money spent on doing) tend to provide more enduring happiness than material purchases (money spent on having).” – Waiting for Merlot (Abstract)
Buying a plane ticket to visit a friend or planning a trip to a place I’ve never been before adds a whole new level of anticipation that brings me much more happiness than already knowing what features I am going to get with the new iPhone. Seeing that this study was more geared towards college students, it can still apply to any money spenders.
Experiences are much more worth spending money on for many reasons. In an article by Mike Oppland titled “8 Reasons Why People Who Spend Money On Experiences Are Happier,” he names eight reasons why experiences are much more money spending worthy than material possessions. The first point he makes is “experiences can’t be quantified.” There is an infinite amount of experiences to have while material possessions have an expiration date. The second point he makes is “experiences help define your purpose and passions.” We should spend money on experiences to really get to know what our passions are and expand our purpose to a whole new level. I really want to focus on the third point he makes in this article where he states; “experiences introduce you to different worldly perspectives.”
“Experiences make you happier before they even happen” – CNN Money
When we expand our knowledge of the world, we are able to capture a deeper understanding of the people around us. Not only do we expand in our knowledge of the things that inhabit this planet, but we can have a better understanding of them from the experiences we have. You can read on to see what the other great points Mike makes in his article.
The hard part in spending money for you might be seeing what sort of experiences you need to make in order to feel like you had a worthwhile experience. But I can tell you that traveling to a place you have never been before can be an extraordinary experience. You can feel your understanding of the world around you deepen when you experience riding in a moto-taxi for the first time and realizing that the money you paid that taxi driver may be the cash he uses to help buy food for his family. Or you can purchase a ticket to an opera house and experience music like you have never heard before.
This world is full of experiences; we just need to know where to spend our money in order to be able to get the most out of this life.
LEAF Editor & Contributor
(ed. Video is not from the NPR/CNN article, but related nonetheless…)