One More Reason to Spend Your Money on Ballet Tickets

November 28, 2001

Can money buy happiness? A recent study found that maybe it can—if you’re buying an experience. Researchers at Cornell University and University of California, Berkeley, surveyed around 100 college students and more than 2,200 randomly chosen adults to see how they felt while waiting to purchase both material goods and entry to events. People got excited about both, but they were generally more positive about the experiences, such as vacations or concerts. Waiting for material purchases, like a new phone, caused more impatience, and people tended to feel more competitive.


One reason for this may be that experiences give people a chance to socialize and bond with others. You’ve probably seen this for yourself: While you may get a quick boost from buying a new outfit for class, you’ll most likely get longer-lasting and more fulfilling happiness from waiting in line to buy tickets for an upcoming dance performance with friends. Spending time together and anticipating the fun you’ll be having can improve your mood before the show has even started.