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The Buying Decision That Makes You Happy

The Buying Decision That Makes You Happy

When you find yourself with a little discretionary income, here's a surefire way to make yourself happy with it: Buy an experience.

Seems counterintuitive, but research suggests that spending your spare change on transitory experiences—like a trip to the theater or a relaxing vacation—will bring stronger and longer-lasting satisfaction than if you'd spent the extra moolah on material objects.

The joy of shopping
Here's the problem: Buying material goods—like high-tech gizmos or swank leather shoes—is inherently more likely to induce buyer's remorse. It's just too easy to compare what you bought to newer, better or less expensive options and end up feeling unhappy with your choice. Plus, material goods lose their shiny appeal with time. Experiences, on the other hand? They often become an intrinsic part of your long-term identity, reminding you over and over of good times and happy moments shared with loved ones.

The why, not the what
When you do buy material goods, they may make you happier if you think about the reasons you bought them and the ways they can add happy experiences to your life. For example, that top-of-the-line outdoor grill you just bought? Think about the cookouts and fun-filled family picnics you'll create with it. And put your money where your heart is with these other tips:

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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