Sometimes we need to give up basic conditioning by sneaking in (in the right way).
Many of us are taught to avoid talking about money. As such, we struggle to understand our connection to it. We can consider questions such as:
- “If money can’t buy happiness, why should I not think of myself as happy until I’m rich?”
- “My parents never allowed me to spend money on them. How do I tell them that certain amenities are not the same as being used to luxury?”
- “Are materialism and happiness mutually exclusive?”
- “Does flirting make me greedy and selfish?”
These questions are good to consider as they tell a deeper story about how you view money and its role in your life. Here I’m going to talk about three ways money can actually buy happiness, according to new scientific research.
#1. Spending money on your partner pays off
We are often tempted to think of creative ways to show our commitment to our partner. This could mean making an unexpected thoughtful gesture, crafting a handmade gift, or thinking of new ways to spend quality time together.
While all of these methods are great, there’s nothing wrong with buying your partner something they want or can use—or, even better, something they want but would never buy for themselves.
A recent study shows that partners who regularly spend money on each other are happier in their relationship. Spending on your partner increases partner responsibility, which contributes to the health of the relationship and the individual mental health of both members.
Buying something for your partner doesn’t mean that you haven’t put the time and effort into the gesture either. Buying something good also takes effort—you may need to save money, schedule a sale, or make a reservation.
When it comes to investing in your relationship, both time and money make a difference.
#2. Spending money on a furry friend can be fun
Yes, pets are big responsibilities. Yes, they can screw it up. Yes, they sometimes leave bite marks on new furniture. Yes, vet visits can be expensive.
But pets are not money pits. Conversely, research shows that spending on your pet — whether it’s for training, toys, or accessories — can significantly increase your happiness levels.
There are other positive aspects too. Having a dog can have stress-relieving effects on the mind and body. Keeping your pet active forces you to stay active. Perhaps most importantly, pets also play an emotionally supportive role for you and your family.
People with pets are known to be more sociable and form thriving communities with other pet owners, which can be a powerful antidote to loneliness and isolation. It was no surprise that as the pandemic hit and the world went into hibernation, pet adoption and sales soared to record-breaking highs.
#3. Spend your money on experiences, not things
While spending on others is a great way to increase your happiness, spending on yourself is not a crime. In fact, buying new and interesting experiences for yourself is a great way to find long-lasting happiness that isn’t rooted in materialism.
Investing in experiences like a solo tour, a concert, or even a music lesson can add meaningful milestones to your life story. Experiences increase in value over the years, and they always enrich you in different ways (which rarely acquires new clothes or jewelry).
Unconvinced? Think about your honeymoon, the time you went to the amusement park with your child or siblings, or the time you read your favorite author’s book. Would you trade these experiences for anything else in the world?
Money is nothing more than a stamp of value. You are allowed to use it when you want to tell someone that you appreciate their love, their work and their presence – even if that person is you.