The weekend is almost here, and let’s imagine that you have a certain amount of money to burn. What should you spend it on? A new possession? Or some sort of experience? What would make you happiest?

Of course everyone is different, and we all find happiness in different ways. But generally, possessions don’t tend to make people very happy. Although getting a new gadget or pair of shoes might be satisfying, it’s not likely to fill most people with lasting feelings of joy. We get used to our physical possessions, and they stop giving us pleasure over time. They just become part of our everyday lives.

Research indicates that happiness is much more likely to result from experiences – like going to the movies, taking a class, volunteering, going out to lunch, or taking a day trip. Experiences are more fulfilling than things. We feel happy as we look forward to the event, during the event, and even after the event. Experiences give us happy memories to look back on. They also give us good stories to tell – and sharing stories with friends is another pleasurable thing. Your friends probably don’t have a huge amount of interest in hearing about the item you just bought, but they will want to hear about the wacky things that happened on your latest hiking expedition.

So before you spend your money on some sort of physical item, consider spending it on an experience instead. Even though the experience is fleeting, it’s more likely to provide you with lasting happiness.


Hamblin, J. (2014, October 7). Buy experiences, not things. The Atlantic. Retrieved from