Here’s a link to the CNN story that reported the findings that purchasing experiences make you happier than purchasing material goods. Here’s a quote:
The most striking difference was in how participants said others around them reacted to either the purchased object or experience. Experiences led to more happiness in others than purchases did. A sense of relatedness to others — getting closer to friends and family — may be one of the reasons why experiences generate more happiness.
“When people spend money on life experiences, whether they also take someone with them or buy an extra ticket or whatever, most of our life experiences involve other individuals,” Howell said. People were fulfilling their need for social bonding while having these experiences, he said. Visit CNNhealth.com, your connection for better living
Another reason for increased happiness in experiences, the researchers found, was that people felt a greater sense of vitality or “being alive” during the experience and in reflection, Howell said.
“As nice as your new computer is, it’s not going to make you feel alive,” he said.
Here’s the link to the full research paper on this study.
Here’s a second study that was performed at the University of Chicago, that suggests one other significant factor in whether experiential purchases made you happier was how the purchase turned out. If the purchase turned out positively, experiential purchases made subjects happier than material ones, but if the purchase turned out negatively, there was no difference in happiness for experiential vs material purchases.