100 us dollar bill

Can money buy happiness? This question has been thought over and analyzed by hundreds of sources and people. Everyone’s conclusion to that question will vary, but the majority of them result in a similar answer. Within certain limitations, money has the power to give people happiness, even though this happiness is artificial, temporary, and often based on material goods rather than lifelong experiences shared with others.

The happiness created from money is often artificial and temporary. For example, you see a $10 bill sitting on the sidewalk, and you become very happy that you have some extra spending money now. However, hours later you forget about this, and move on with something that holds a higher value. To further explain the concept of temporary happiness, Sarah Gervais states, “Buying things does make us happy, at least in the short term. In the long-term, however, we habituate to new things and even though they may have made us excited and happy at first, eventually the item becomes the new normal and fades into the background,” demonstrating money’s ability to give short term happiness concerning artificial or material goods (Gervais). The happiness provided by money does give us happiness at first, but as the item bought by money fades and becomes unimportant, so does that happiness.

Money is often spent on materialistic things rather than memorable experiences, which shortens the length and value of happiness. A common usage of a surplus of money is spent on the new iPhone to stay relevant with trends, rather than a family vacation (Blackman). Due to this decision, the happiness that is created by money is often short lived, rather than carried on through memories. For example, you decide to take your family to Disney World for a family vacation. You create long lasting memories that you are able to look back on, and feel happy. However, if you decided to get new phones for everyone in your family instead, eventually the happiness of phones will fade away as they become used, and new products come out. This concept proves that experiences are more memorable than tangible objects, and have long-lasting value (Blackman).

One way to prolong happiness derived from money, and add to its value, is to spend your money on other people. A simple example is, one day of the week, instead of getting your $5 coffee in the morning from starbucks, spend that money on a warm breakfast for a homeless person. Or treat your best friend to their favorite restaurant on their birthday. This concept has been researched for a long time by many credible sources. Harvard Business blog says, “Although it might be tempting to spend this money on yourself, a decade of research shows that you’re more likely to derive happiness from spending it on someone else,” demonstrating the scientific evidence behind the happiness derived from money towards the joy of others (Dunn and Courtney). Happiness from money that is spent on others, is more times than not, more genuine and long-lasting than spending it on yourself.

Even with its limitations, money can buy happiness, with the consideration that happiness is artificial, temporary, and usually wasted on material goods. Money does have the power to give people happiness. This happiness does not hold a strong and long-lasting value though. The money is usually spent on material goods and quick bursts of joy. So, next time you are looking to spend some money with the end result of happiness, spend it for a good reason on a friend or person in need.

Works Cited

Blackman, Andrew. “Can money buy you happiness?” Wall Street Journal, Dow & Jones Company, 10 November     2014, https://www.wsj.com/articles/can-money-buy-happiness-heres-what-science-has-to-say-1415569538, Accessed on 13 October 2021.
Dunn, Elizabeth, and Courtney, Chris. “Does More Money Really Make Us More Happy?” Harvard Business Review, 14 Sept. 2020, https://hbr.org/2020/09/does-more-money-really-makes-us-more-happy, Accessed on 15 October 2021.

Gervais, Sarah. “Can Money Buy Happiness?” Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 11 Nov. 2015, https://psychology.unl.edu/can-money-buy-happiness, Accessed on October 13 2021.

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September 22, 2023 3:26 am

Dear Hannah:

After reading your post, “Can Money Buy Happiness?,” I learned how money can bring happiness in different ways. In the article it said that a majority of people do agree that money does bring happiness but it can temporary and artifical.

Throughout the text they give many examples of how money can bring temporary and artifical happiness. The quote that stood out to me was “Money is often spent on materialistic things rather than memorable experiences, which shortens the length and value of happiness”. This quote shows that money getting spent on trending things such as a new iphone coming out can only be a temporary kind of happiness. You will feel the happiness in that moment of getting it but days later that happiness will be forgotten and you’ll move on to wanting another trending item. On the other hand in the text they give an example of spening money on a trip like going to Disneyland with friends and family, they said that the trip would bring long lasting happiness and memories. These examples just show that money being spent on a memorable experinces will give you long-lasting values other then spending it on a object that will bring temporary values.

Thank you for writing this article, I look forward to seeing what you write next because I enjoy reading about topic no one really tends to brign up. I like to see how other people view topics.

December 16, 2022 7:14 am

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Sebastian Dylon
Sebastian Dylon
Reply to  stephen
April 20, 2023 9:10 pm

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November 1, 2021 7:46 pm

In the article “Can Money Buy Happiness?” I learned that money buys happiness in two ways. You either spend the money on making memories, or materialistic things. Memories will last for a long time. If you buy something materialistic the joy will only last a couple of minutes, because you will get tired of it eventually.

I believe that spending money on memories is never the wrong way to go because you will remember that for a while. On the other hand, I have bought sunglasses, watches, phones, and the joy is only there for such a little time, compared to the money I wasted on concerts.

What is something you regretted buying?

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