3 tips on how to spend your money in ways that really make you happy

Many of us are taught to avoid conversations about money. As such, we find it difficult to understand the relationship we have with it. We can reflect on questions such as:

  • “If money can’t buy happiness, why do I only look happier if I were richer?”
  • “My parents never let me spend money on them. How do I tell them that having certain comforts is not the same as being addicted to luxury?
  • “Are materialism and happiness mutually exclusive?”
  • “Does splurge make me greedy and selfish?”

These questions are good to reflect on, as they tell a deeper story about how you view money and its role in your life. Here, I’ll talk about three ways money can actually buy happiness, according to new scientific research.

#1. Spending money on your partner pays happiness dividends

We are often pushed to think of creative ways to show our commitment to our partner. This could mean making an unexpected thoughtful gesture, making a handmade gift, or thinking of new ways to spend quality time together.

While all of these methods are great, there’s nothing wrong with buying your partner something they want or can use, or better yet, something they want but would never buy for themselves.

A recent study shows that couples who regularly spend money on each other are more satisfied with their relationship. Spending on your partner increases the responsiveness of the partner, which contributes to the health of the relationship and the individual psychological health of both partners.

Also, buying something for your partner doesn’t mean you haven’t put time and effort into the gesture. Buying something good also takes effort: you may have had to save money, plan a sale, or make a reservation.

When it comes to investing in your relationship, both time and money make a difference.

#two. Spending money on a furry friend can be delicious

Yes, pets are huge responsibilities. Yes, they can make a mess. Yes, they sometimes leave bite marks on new furniture. Yes, veterinary visits can be expensive.

But pets are not money pits. On the contrary, research shows that spending money on your pets, whether it’s for training, toys or accessories, can significantly increase their level of happiness.

There are other positive aspects as well. Petting a dog can have anti-stress effects on the mind and body. Keeping your pet active forces you to stay active. Perhaps most importantly, pets also play an emotionally supportive role for you and your family.

Pet owners are known to be more social and tend to create vibrant communities with other pet owners, which can be a powerful antidote to loneliness and isolation. It was no surprise that when the pandemic hit and the world went into hibernation, pet adoption and sales hit record levels.

#3. Spend your money on experiences not things

While spending on others is a great way to increase your happiness, spending on yourself is not a crime. In fact, buying new and interesting experiences for yourself is a great way to achieve lasting happiness that isn’t rooted in materialism.

Investing in experiences like a solo trip, a concert, or even a music lesson can add significant milestones in your life narrative. The value of experiences increases as the years go by and they continue to enrich you in different ways (something that new clothes or jewelry rarely do).

Not convinced? Think about your honeymoon, the time you took your son or brother to an amusement park, or the time you went to read that book by your favorite author. Would you trade those experiences for anything else in the world?


Money is nothing more than a token of value. You can use it when you want to tell someone that you value their love, their work, and their presence, even if that person is you.

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