While wealth and a functional, joyful life don’t always come as a package deal, anyone who’s financially struggling can tell you that economic stability can provide peace of mind and a welcome sense of security. Recently, Inc. examined the link between happiness and spending habits, discovering 4 ways to use your disposable income that can result in a higher level of joy and satisfaction.
1. Time can be more valuable than money, so invest your money in ways that will free up more of your off-the-clock hours.
Inc. cites a study of over 4,000 American workers, which concluded that those who place more importance on time rather than money experience more happiness than their counterparts. By using your extra cash to hire a housekeeper or a grocery delivery service, you can cross these chores off your list and spend your free time on pursuits that bring you genuine joy and relaxation.
2. Spending money on experiences rather than objects provides a more lasting sense of happiness.
Researchers at San Francisco State University learned that spending money on a memorable experience (like a long-awaited vacation or a great concert) will make you happier than using those funds to buy a physical object (even something you’ll use everyday, like a new smartphone or laptop). Experiences offer you long-lasting positive memories and associations, which can sustain feelings of happiness longer and more effectively than a newly-purchased item.
3. Sharing time and experiences with those you love creates a substantial (and useful) sense of joy.
If you decide to invest your spare dollars on a trip or an activity, consider springing for an extra ticket so you can bring along a friend, a significant other, or a relative. Maintaining close ties with loved ones can result in a longer life, so think of this happiness-producing spending habit as an investment in your health and wellbeing.
4. Donating money to charitable causes offers a deeper satisfaction than buying things for yourself.
Inc. mentions a research project in which college students were given money, with half the group instructed to spend the cash on themselves and the other half told to spend it on others. After the spending concluded, researchers spoke with the students and discovered that the group who spent their money on other people felt more happiness than the other participants. While you can certainly gain this sense of satisfaction by purchasing a thoughtful gift for a loved one, donating to a meaningful charity gives you the opportunity to put your money to excellent use. You'll be both helping a cause you care about and boosting your own happiness in the process.