Shopping for Happiness: 5 Things Worth Spending Money On

Studies show that spending money on experiences rather than things increases happiness. Maybe you just aren’t picking the right things

Credit: Flickr/calliope

Worth the splurge: Would a bunch of lilacs smell as sweet if they lasted forever?

Though studies have shown that experiences contribute more to one’s sense of contentment than things, there are some things worth spending money on for the sake of your happiness

Driving down the coast in a vintage convertible you restored yourself (edit out the inevitable breakdowns). Two new chairs to watch the sunset from your very own deck. Your first lobster roll or hundred mile salad. Everyone’s list is different, but here are a few things that are worth the money.

Material Things Worth Splurging On

  1. Real champagne: The budget sparklers are nice, but they ain’t the same. Plus, if you’re spending on the real stuff, it’s either a festive occasion or you’re bound to make it one. (Don’t spring for anything beyond the basic French bottle, though; vintage champagnes and such aren’t really worth the higher price tag).
  2. Handmade anything: A wooden bench with a story behind it practically becomes an experience. Plus, meeting the maker, whether artisan or farmer, enriches your object with a real person’s story.
  3. Perishables: Splurging on the fleeting — strawberries in season, a rare spring bunch of lilacs — brings its brevity sharply into focus, meaning you appreciate it more. There’s a truism that the Japanese favour cherry blossoms over plum because, while they’re equally beautiful, the former are only at their peak for a brief period.
  4. Custom made: What if a jeweller listened to your story, then refashioned your wedding ring into a divorce bauble, twined with symbolism known only to you? Can you imagine having shoes or a shirt fitted exactly to your shape? Custom things, by definition, can belong to nobody else. That makes them special.
  5. Social life: One of the reasons researchers say experiences are richer than goods is that they strengthen social relationships, from your marriage to ties with coworkers and friends. So go ahead and spend money on things, like the ingredients for cupcakes you’ll deliver to a friend or a batch of cocktails for a party, that will also nourish your social life.

What Makes You Happiest?

What would make your life perfect — not necessarily by anyone else’s standards, but your own? Figure that out and you’ll know what’s worth the money.