Buy a plane ticket instead of that watch or pair of shoes.

Cornell University found that spending money on experiences is more likely to bring you lasting happiness than spending money on material objects. The reason being that people “adapt” to physical objects – meaning the things you’ve bought will bring decreasing amounts of happiness as time goes on and you get used to having them around – whereas those one-off experiences will be looked back upon with joy that only increases.

Spending loads of money on a fancy car, a watch, a dress, a phone or even a house is not going to bring you everlasting happiness. Gilovich’s findings are the synthesis of psychological studies conducted by him and others into the Easterlin paradox, which found that money buys happiness but only up to a point. “After your basic needs are met, it doesn’t make you that much happier.” “The tendency of keeping up with the Joneses tends to be more pronounced for material goods than for experiential purchases,” says Gilovich.

“It certainly bothers us if we’re on a vacation and see people staying in a better hotel or flying first class. But it doesn’t produce as much envy as when we’re outgunned on material goods.”

~ Dr. Thomas Gilovich, psychology professor at Cornell University