Recently I read Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. I feel like this book needs a small disclaimer to dispel any assumptions one may have when picking it up. This is not a book about saving money or earning more money or arguing that money doesn't make us happy. This is a book that gives research based suggestions for ways people spend their money to amplify happiness.
This was towards the end of the book the authors Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton summarize the book by writing:
Changing the way you spend your money is far from the only way to increase your happiness of course. But our principles show that money can do a much better job of buying you happiness if you spend it right, since some purchases give you a bigger happiness bang for your buck than others.So can money buy you happiness? Sure, maybe, it depends. Dunn and Norton give their principles as ways to maximize happiness derived from purchasing.
Their five principles are:
- Buy experiences: Research revealed that "satisfaction with experiential purchases increases with passage of time, while satisfaction with material purchases tends to decrease." This explains what I refer to as the prom paradox. Planning and thinking about prom was a lot more fun than prom itself. We love thinking and planning or even storytelling about an event more than the souvenirs from the trip.
- Make it a treat: Why do people go crazy over McRibs? Because we don't get it all the time and we choose to savor it. Part of our enjoyment comes from the novelty or specialness of something. If we increase our exposure, our likelihood of boredom increases.
- Buy time: Time is money, right? In a way our brains do conflate the two concepts. There's a bit of syllogism for you: When something is valuable, it is typically perceived to be scarce. And vice versa. Dunn and Norton's research finding found that as we make more money, we begin to feel that our time is more scarce whether or not we are working more hours. By giving time away (volunteering or embracing slow movement), we trick the brain into thinking we have an abundance of time.
- Pay now, Consume later: Delayed gratification friends. Powerful brain candy. We experience far less guilt about a purchase if we pay for it upfront and receive the service or item later. Stop using credit cards and consuming now, paying later.
- Invest in others: The authors provided many experiments that reveal the intrinsic (yet often overlooked and ignored) understanding that giving to others makes us happy. They provided a few suggestions for philanthropy: Make it a choice (obviously we like donating voluntarily than taxation), Make a connection (connect with your friends or strangers through shared interests), and Make an impact (find organizations or agencies to donate where you see what needs are being fulfilled with your donation).
If you would like to hear a bit more, listen to one of the authors in his TEDx talk:
|I blog about books, crafts, educational ideas, food, and my life. You can subscribe to my blog to stay up to date on my posts or follow along at other social media sites. |