Why experiences beat material gifts every time

Happiness may not be for sale but spending money on experiences seems to have a knock-on effect on our wellbeing

Many of us have taken to making memories, building traditions and spending our money on experiences. Photograph: iStock

Many of us have taken to making memories, building traditions and spending our money on experiences. Photograph: iStock

If happiness was for sale, we imagine it would be quite an expensive commodity. But they say how we spend our money can determine our level of happiness and influence our wellbeing. Spending our money on items which are often fleeting and lost in the backroom filing cabinet of our minds, have little effect on our long-term happiness goals. A takeaway coffee, while momentarily deliriously pleasurable, will be forgotten until the next thing we buy to fill that void.

We often assume buying an item would bring much more satisfaction because of its durable, long-lasting nature. However, it has been determined by behavioural scientists that items often only afford us temporary joy until that spark most certainly wanes.

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