person tending to their garden

Your Result

Make mindful choices to spend money on valuable experiences

To be happier, consider a habit that will help you make mindful choices to spend money on valuable experiences, such as travel or a class.

Why this aim is likely to make you happier

We often hear that “Money can’t buy happiness,” and while it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, money can buy things that contribute mightily to happiness. We can use money to invest in experiences that enrich our lives and help us cultivate an “atmosphere of growth” that is one of the keys to happiness.

Aims you might consider

Identify an investment or upgrade that will help you pursue a hobby or interest

Take a course or workshop related to your professional development

Set up a savings goal for a trip you’d like to take—think short term and long term

Set up a savings goal to pay for experiences that deepen relationships, such as hosting a big anniversary party, visiting faraway friends, or attending a reunion

Know Yourself Better

Self-knowledge is an essential aspect of happiness, because we can create a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own values, and our own interests. 

As you consider ways to make mindful choices to spend money on valuable experiences​​, ask yourself:

  • If you have one meaningful experience this year, what will make the biggest difference to your happiness?
  • Do you have a bucket list or any specific aims to reach by a milestone birthday?
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why? 
  • Would you prefer to take one long vacation or several short ones?
  • What’s a skill or topic you’ve always wanted to learn about?
  • Imagine yourself five years from now, looking back on this time. What will your future-self wish you’d done now?

A few notes of caution…

  • Be aware of any unhelpful loopholes you may employ when thinking about money. The Tomorrow Loophole (“I’ll start investing later”) and the Fake Self-Actualization Loophole (“Life is too short for me to take the time to track how much money I spend on lattes each month”) are common examples.

  • If you’re naturally a homebody, you might find that you miss opportunities to push yourself to have the adventures that will enrich your life. Put the trip or activity on the calendar, get outer accountability if you need it, and remind yourself how it fits into the life you want.