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.)


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!