Got some extra cash (finally)? Consider spending it on a weekend getaway or hiking gear rather than the iPad you think you've wanted. It's one of the few things researchers can agree on when it comes to money and happiness.
The New York Times did some interesting work over the weekend, polling the scientists who have made recent inroads into the science of money, spending and happiness. It starts off with a familiar anecdote about couples making do with less, but soon jumps into some actual white paper-style research:
(Researchers) have found that our types of purchases, their size and frequency, and even the timing of the spending all affect long-term happiness. One major finding is that spending money for an experience - concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco - produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.
"It's better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch' is basically the idea," says Professor Dunn, summing up research by two fellow psychologists, Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich.
... Thomas DeLeire, an associate professor of public affairs, population, health and economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, recently published research examining nine major categories of consumption. He discovered that the only category to be positively related to happiness was leisure: vacations, entertainment, sports and equipment like golf clubs and fishing poles.
It is at least pause for thought — how many holidays and trips can you recall with happy memories, versus how many devices and furniture upgrades?
Consumers Find Ways to Spend Less and Find Happiness [NYTimes.com]