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Why You’ll Be Happier If You Spend Money on Experiences Instead of Stuff

Whoever came up with the old adage “It’s the little things in life” pretty much nailed it. First, we found out that people who have a higher sense of well-being live longer. Then we discovered that our everyday habits and routines lead to a better outlook on life. We even learned that happy people can influence others’ moods with their sweat. And now we’re back to give you another life tip that’ll boost your mood even more. According to a study published by psychologists at Cornell University, people derive more enjoyment from experiential purchases than material goods. Or, as the Cornell Chronicle puts it, “doing makes you happier than owning.” So if you feel like you’re in a rut, skip the Amazon shopping spree and open your travel apps and book a flight for instant gratification that lasts.


Speaking of instant gratification, the study discovered something even more interesting: Anticipation plays a huge role in overall happiness as well. We have a tendency to put off experiences that we want, just to enjoy the wait (guess that’s why making bucket lists is so fun). The happiness that comes from anticipation is even greater when it’s an experience that we’re purchasing rather than a thing. Picture people standing in line for the new iPad, and then picture people standing in line for Taylor Swift concert tickets. Who do you imagine is happier? Answer: The researchers found that people are way more likely to riot and fight while waiting to acquire a possession. (Plus, Swifties are way too classy to stoop to those levels.)

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In conclusion, money can’t buy you happiness, but it CAN buy you a trip to Europe, or a night out at that top restaurant in the city or just a movie night with your friends. See below for some Brit + Co tips to harness all that potential experiential happiness in your day-to-day.

1. Declutter: Material possessions aren’t bringing you nearly as much joy as you thought they would. Purge, baby, purge.

2. Travel: When have you ever heard an adventurer say, “I really regret taking that vacation. I have no memories of it and I never want to go anywhere again?” Yeah, that’s what we thought. Go forth and conquer the world!

3. Go for a Walk: Not only is it free, but it gets the creative juices flowing. That way, you can also figure out what you enjoy doing and spend your money on the best possible experiences.

4. Do It Yourself: Since doing makes you happier than owning, don’t just shop for something new; make it yourself.

5. Seize the Day: We know you have an ever-growing to-do list. Hop to it.

What experiences do you save up your money for? Do you agree that they make you happier than physical purchases? Weigh in below!

Ahhh, fall. There are so many things to love about this time of year (give us ALL the sweaters and pumpkin-flavored eats). But, high on the list comes autumn decor candles, throws, textiles — you name it. Of course, buying items and actually adding them to your room are two different things. So we're turning to Instagram for the best styling advice and inspo for the season. Scroll on to see everything you need to get those wheels turning!

@sbkliving: Sometimes, it only takes a chic doormat to transition your front steps for the season. Hello, fall!

@rachelpuccetti: Excuse us while we spend an entire lazy Sunday relaxing in this fall-infused space.

@farmhousetofrills: A monochrome mantel never looked so chic. (That fireplace pumpkin setup is seriously *genius*.)

@faith_hope_home: Greet guests with a fall-themed entrance to set the tone for a day of pumpkin carving or scary movie marathoning.

@simplysoutherncottage: Don't forget about those nooks and crannies! This entryway/mudroom situation is capturing our little harvest-loving hearts.

@6thirtydecor: Speaking of pumpkins, pick up a few extra gourds to pave the way into your cozy autumn abode.

@farmsteadonfirst: That guest bedroom you weren't sure what to do with it? Transform it into a rustic retreat with some fall signage and mustard-yellow and green accents.

@fiddleleafinteriors: We're going to take a second to *swoon* over this adorable kitchen setup. Those farmhouse accents and simple centerpiece setup? We're in love.

@ohmydearblog: Contrary to what you think, florals *aren't* just for spring. Bring them into your abode by selecting buds in moody tones to pay homage to the season.

@simply.mrs.z: Drawn to modern style? Play up the Halloween vibes by picking black, orange and brass accents to rock on places like your bookshelf. (Bonus points for carrying the theme over to your textiles.)

@drivewaytodreams_crystal: We're going to go ahead and give two thumbs up to all of these orange-hued accents. Backdropped with a neutral furnishings and they truly *pop*!

@cripcollectiveig: For those who don't want to go overboard with the "fall stuff" this one will speak to you. Compile a couple of cute throws and a minimalist pumpkin print on your mantle and you're set

@cavcottage: Who said fun pillows were limited to furnishings only? We're ALL about this entry display.

@houseon77th: This daybed setup is a *dream*. But actually, this would be the perfect space to doze off in come the colder days.

@kristenforgione: For a more festive Halloween look, overhaul your living space with a spooky handmade addition like this one. *Googles paper bat DIYs.*