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Can money make you happy?

This is a topic that seems to get revisited every year around Black Friday and the holiday shopping season: Can money buy happiness? This recent iteration from The Oklahoman has Bill Sones and Rich Sones writing that:

While it’s true the wealthy are happier than the poor and wealthy countries are happier than poor ones, money actually buys little happiness, reports the University of California, Berkeley “Wellness Letter.” From a study in the “Journal of Consumer Psychology” here are some quick spending tips to achieve something close to money Nirvana:

  1. Buy more experiences — vacations, classes, concert tickets — and fewer material goods.
  2. Consider how purchases may affect day-to-day life, aiming for more “uplifts” and less hassles.
  3. Buy many small pleasures rather than one large one, especially if money is limited.
  4. Delay consumptions and prolong anticipations. Looking forward to an event is a source of pleasure, even if the event ends up being a letdown.
  5. Spend money on others. Giving money or gifts strengthens social bonds and amplifies our own happiness.

The interesting tie that we see with people who look at their money personality using Money Habitudes is that while people with a lot of “Security” cards, for example, may feel very good about how they conserve and do without, they often realize that even a small change in their spending or how they budget can make them happier. Saving is good, but there’s something to be said for enjoying one’s money and using it to do what we want to do in life, be it travel, take care of our families, provide a meaningful hobby, etc.