It’s generally accepted that everybody should spend their money wisely. Nobody should ever shell out too often for frivolous things at the expense of what really matters, such as food, shelter, and health.
Yet few people could be expected to only pay for basic necessities. It’s natural to want to treat yourself to fun and luxury from time to time! Still, science says that you’re probably spending too much of your entertainment dollar on things that aren’t going to actually make you happy.
What you should buy instead, according to scientists, just might surprise you!
Most people, including many of those who are extremely wealthy, are careful about how they spend their money. Even after they’ve paid for necessities like housing and medical expenses, they’re compelled to tuck some cash away for a rainy day.
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Hard-working people who care about how they spend their well-earned money are just as careful about what they shell out for entertainment or other unnecessary expenditures, too. It’s important to be careful! But are they really making themselves happy?
Bella Ella Boutique
Cornell University psychology professor Dr. Thomas Gilovich says “no.” After conducting a 20-year study, he came to the following conclusion: according to science, people spend far too much on material possessions. That’s not all, though…
He doesn’t claim that people shouldn’t buy “things” ever, but that it’s important to remember the happiness they offer doesn’t last. Makes sense, right? This might bum you out, but his reasoning is quite sound.
See, one issue with buying material items is that it won’t seem new and exciting for long. That fleeting enjoyment might feel good at the time, but it simply doesn’t last. Still, there’s more to his argument.
B137 / Wikimedia Commons
Secondly, each new purchase raises the bar for your next purchase. No matter how much you may adore your latest purchase, chances are you’re eventually going to want something even better.
Finally, people are always trying to keep up with the proverbial Joneses. When you take an interest in “things,” you tend to find yourself comparing yourself to others and their possessions. This, as you might guess, is not a recipe for happiness.
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So, if it’s not a good idea to spend too much money on material things, where does Dr. Gilovich suggest we spend our hard-earned dough instead? The answer is actually quite simple: experiences.
cdpederson / Wikimedia Commons
Experiences might not last, but that’s sort of the point. When you take part in something that you can only do once in a lifetime, such as a vacation or a skydiving adventure, you’re unlikely to forget it… ever!
Not only that, but an individual’s experiences can help shape their identities. Would you rather be known as someone who has visited 12 countries, eaten exotic foods, and met amazing people—or someone with a really nice TV? You can’t argue that!
The old saying about money not buying happiness may only be partially true. You can spend money on experiences that have the potential to make you happy… but any old thing won’t do!
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