People say "money can't buy you happiness"m but if you spend it on life experiences instead of material goods, it often can. However, a recent study suggests that for more materialistic folks, no purchase out there can truly please them.
The study, conducted at San Francisco State University, looked at two different types of purchase: material goods and experiences. The study found that those who tend to spend money on material items found no happiness in experiential purchases, because they didn't believe what they bought expressed their personality. That makes sense, as they prefer material goods, but the study found that the material buyers weren't happy with their material purchases either.
The reason? They felt like others criticised them or looked down on their choice of picking an item over an experience. San Francisco State Professor of Psychology Ryan Howell explains:
"I'm a baseball fan. If you tell me, 'Go spend money on a life experience,' and I buy tickets to a baseball game, that would be authentic to who I am, and it will probably make me happy. On the other hand, I'm not a big museum guy. If I bought tickets to an art museum, I would be spending money on a life experience that seems like it would be the right choice, but because it's not true to my personality, I'm not going to be any happier as a result."
If money can buy you happiness, do it. It's ill-advised, though, to buy things to fit in with others. Howell recommends buying an experience that's directly in line with your personality.
Can money buy happiness? For some, the answer is no [Journal of Research in Personality via Science Daily]