Can money buy happiness?

You’ve heard that ‘money can’t buy you love. However, recent studies have shown that money can make you happier when you buy things that save you time or make life easier, give to others, or spend it on enjoyable experiences that create lasting memories.

Buy yourself time
Women are busy – running businesses, raising children, caring for elderly parents, giving back. Why not get some joy out of using your money to free up some time? Whether you hire a housekeeper, choose the convenience of grocery delivery, employ a de-cluttering service or send out the laundry, you’ll alleviate the detrimental health effects of time stress and feel more in control. After all, time is money – a valuable commodity that brings happiness.

Spend on others
Research shows that giving makes us healthier and feel better about ourselves. Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic found that gift-giving behaviors cause humans to secrete oxytocin, the “feel good” chemicals in our brains, leading to multiple beneficial health effects including lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, reduced depression and lower stress levels.

Enjoy experiences with friends and family
We are extremely social beings, and it’s in our nature to derive pleasure from spending time with others. Experiential purchases generate lasting benefits, and you can have fun planning, enjoying, and reminiscing about the experience. No need to feel guilty about going out to a fancy dinner with good friends, rocking out at a concert with your spouse, or taking an exotic family vacation. You’re creating precious memories that will make you happy every time you think about them.

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Buying time promotes happiness, Ashley V. Whillans, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Paul Smeets, Rene Bekkers and Michael I. Norton, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Cambridge, MA, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Department of Finance, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, and Center for Philanthropic Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Aknin, Michael I. Norton, University of British Columbia, Harvard Business School.

If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right, Elizabeth W. Dunn, University of British Columbia, Daniel T. Gilbert, Harvard University, Timothy D. Wilson, University of Virginia

Wanna Give? This is your Brain on a Helper’s High, November 15, 2016,