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Shopping for Happiness

We’ve always said “Money can’t buy happiness,” because we don’t want to overlook the intangible pleasures of life. Of course, you know that research says that for people who don’t have much, money can well buy happiness, in the form of stress reduction, safety, health, nutrition, and a decent standard of living. We also know that spending money on others produces happiness. But aside from all that, the way you spend your money can make all the difference in the amount of happiness your purchases bring you. Jacob Falkovich has some tips on how to get the most bang for your buck. He even breaks it down into a formula to select what item or activity will bring you more happiness than the next item or experience. But even if you don’t want to crunch number with him, there’s a lot of good advice here.

Finally, if you take nothing else from this post, take this tip: buy great soap. I think that people strongly undervalue the happiness to be had from excellent products in cheap categories. A Chanel bag costs $5,000 not because it’s 1oo times better at being a bag than a $50 bag, but because it’s a signaling-positional-keeping-up-with-Joneses-luxury good. On the flip side, in every category that’s not consumed conspicuously the highest quality things will not be overpriced. I drive a cheap ass-car and wear $30 jeans but I buy the best soap, underwear, toilet paper, tea, socks, shaving cream and bbq sauce I can find.

The formula and the soap concern only the first of five tips for maximizing the happiness of your purchases. Read the rest at Put A Number On It! -via Metafilter

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I agree with the author; I drive an old car that cost me $750 (but still runs great!) and all of my non-underwear clothing comes from garage sales, but I buy the best chai and toothpaste.
Also, if you ever get into archery, splurge on a dozen identical arrows; a cheap bow will shoot good arrows consistently, but an expensive bow isn't going to shoot well if you use crappy arrows.
What's an ass-car?
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My advice: spend as much as you can on linens and skimp on dishes. It's a happy feeling to be tired and fall into a bed with 800-thread-count all-cotton sheets.
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