In Los Angeles Times Elizabeth Dunn and Norton wrote an opinion piece titled “How to buy Happiness” published May 19,2013. Dunn and Norton gave an example of finding a million dollars under your mattress. What will most people do with that much money? Research shows that money brings out the selfish side of a person. Making us think what we could do with that money for ourselves. For instance, buying a new car, a new cellphone, or a new T.V. Studies have shown that materialistic goods don’t bring lasting happiness. You don’t need a million dollars to buy happiness. Just by spending as little as $5 can bring you more happiness then spending $500 in materialistic goods. It all has to do with how and in what the money is being spent. Many people still associate the American dream with buying a house. A new research shows that buying a house doesn’t really have an impact in happiness. Women that are homeowners in the United States didn’t show to be any happier then those who rent. A research in Germany showed that people who moved to a better home were satisfied with the home its self, but their happiness with their lives didn’t increase. Studies have also shown that buying experiences and memories such as going on trips or the movies will bring people more happiness than buying a material item. Social contact is proven to be a major factor for increasing mental and physical heath. Experiments done in Canada, the United States, Uganda and South Africa prove that people are more happy when they spend money on others. Dunn and Norton made an experiment that combined both experiences and giving to others. On a university campus they gave a Starbucks gift card to three groups. One group had to go to Starbucks and buy themselves something. The second group had to give the Starbucks gift card to someone else. The third group had to use the gift card to buy someone else something and to hang out with them in Starbucks. The results of the experiment was that the third group who bought something for someone else and spend time with them were the happiest. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, but the way you spend that money makes all the difference. Buying experiences for you and others could increase your happiness enormously.
I completely agree with Elizabeth Dunn and Micheal Norton. I put myself in the position of finding one million dollars under my mattress. What will I do with the money? Although it will be a tricky decision to make I honestly think I would buy myself and someone special to me a flight ticket to go on a adventure. If I was to buy myself a huge T.V I would tend to stay home watching T.V all day. Instead of wasting a whole day staying home watching T.v isolated from all the things that could be done outside and spending time with love ones. I would prefer to go out and enjoy myself. Elizabeth and Micheal said “the cost of increasing your happiness may be as cheap as two cups of coffee” (2). Rich or poor if you know how to spend your money you could increase your happiness with just two cups of coffee. Memories last a life time, material stuff doesn’t.