Money can’t buy happiness. I’ve heard this so many times over the years, however, as it turns out, it’s not entirely true.
Research on the relationship between money and happiness tells us that the two are correlated after all, though only to the point where you have enough to cover your living expenses.
That means that if you don’t have enough money to cover your living costs, it will negative impact your levels of happiness. However, once you have enough, the relationship between money and happiness ends, and there’s no correlation between the two at all.
It doesn’t matter if you have hundreds of dollars a month more than that or millions of dollars a month more that that, it will make no difference to your levels of happiness.
However, research also tells us there are ways in which you can use money to increase your levels of happiness, and it’s those that I want to share with you today.
Use your money to give to others
Studies show that if you give someone money and ask them to spend it on others, they will become far happier than if they are asked to spend it on themselves. This applies with both charitable donations and gifts bought for others.
This effect applies when there is no money involved too, which is great for those who don’t have surplus money to spend on others. Giving your time, or simple things such as flowers out of your garden can be just as effective in increasing happiness.
Buy experiences, not things
When we buy something new, it can be really exciting, but it quickly becomes normalised and the impact it has on happiness wears off.
In contrast, when we buy ourselves an experience, we can relive it in our minds as often as we like. We tell others about it too, and thus get a great deal from our experience long after it is actually finished.
As an added bonus, when we use our money to buy experiences, they often involve other people too, so the positive effect of the experience becomes even higher due to the social involvement it brings, something which is also known to be great for happiness.
Combine the two
Next time you’re stuck on an idea for a gift, consider buying an experience rather than an object of some kind. It could be dinner at a nice restaurant, a fun outing, or a massage and spa day.
And if you’re on a budget, remember, experiences don’t need to cost a lot. Take them out for a picnic lunch and a walk, or go to an exhibition at a museum or art gallery together. These experiences can be just as enjoyable as those that cost a lot more.
This maximizes happiness levels for both of you. You get to give, and experience the happiness that comes from that, and they get a fun or memorable experience which has the potential to give happiness not only on the day of the experience, but many times over.