Does Money Buy True Happiness? Maybe.

Money is kind of like health in that it affects us more in the negative. Not having it, you’re very aware of its impact on your happiness. But then once you have it, it’s easy to take it for granted.

Once your basic expenses are covered and you don’t lie awake thinking about bills you can’t pay, there are still ways to use your money to increase your overall happiness level.

Buy things for other people.

Kindness and altruism are important qualities for most people, and studies show that buying things for others makes us happier.

While buying ‘stuff’ won’t bring you happiness, buying things for others can. When people spent their work bonus on someone else, independent of how much money they spent, they felt happier. What’s more, investing in experiences, such as a family vacation, can help increase your happiness.

Use your money to invest in your relationships.

If long-term happiness is the goal, you’re better off investing that money in your relationships with other people.

Money can buy you that plane ticket to visit someone you love or you can have a baby sitter for a date night, or a party with your friends. These things can help you keep relationships strong, and money can help you do those things. Is money something that’s essential to developing strong ties to other people? No. But it can make it easier if you are spending your money wisely.

Use money to save time.

Putting your money toward saving time could be an excellent use of it. More specifically, putting your money toward tasks you dread doing yourself could contribute to happiness.

One way to spend money is to pay people to do chores you don’t want to do. People who use money to save time are happier.

Remember, spending your money on plane tickets to see your friends and hiring a house cleaner isn’t essential to happiness—but they’re certainly worth keeping in mind the next time you’re getting ready to pull the trigger on that expensive handbag.