Research Shows Spending Money Can Make You Happy?

get happy spending money well

We often get funny, when it comes to money.

We obsess over it, trying to get happy, want more of it, think “if I could just pay off those credit card bills” or “have enough money to take that trip to the Greek islands” then we’d be happier.

Is it true?

Well yes, and no.

Certainly it’s not the end-all be-all if you can realize that happiness comes from within, like many have preached over the ages.

However what’s wrong with spending a little hard earned money?

Well, there’s research out there that points to HOW you spend your money is important to your happiness, not the spending of the money itself.

What the Research Shows on Spending Money for Happiness

San Francisco State psychologist Ryan Howell has done research on people that spend their money on things vs. experiences.

Howell has come to the conclusion that people who purchase experiences were happier…they had better well-being and overall satisfaction. 

Another similar study by professor Leaf Van Boven at The University of Colorado at Boulder has shown that people that seek fulfillment via experiences over material things are liked better by friends and peers. (Source:

So indeed, it’s back to the experience of life we create that’s important.  Spending money on experiences that bring you inner joy and satisfaction, and help you connect with others is the way to go it seems.

And I’d agree.

Can you have wonderful experiences without spending money?

Absolutely!  But nothing wrong with dropping some coin that you can’t take with you when you die, anyways, on some fun in the here and now.

It may seem obvious but it’s always nice to have a little research to remind you, isn’t it?

Check out my “Conditional vs. Unconditional Happiness” two-post series here to get grounded in your happiness that’s accessible to you right now.

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