I don't know why that is "surprising," but the details are perhaps worth noting. For one thing, buying a house or moving to a better house is found unlikely to bring more happiness.
And dozens of studies show that people get more happiness from buying experiences than from buying material things. Experiential purchases — such as trips, concerts and special meals — are more deeply connected to our sense of self, making us who we are....Some meal you ate is more deeply connected to your sense of self than your home? I find that hard to believe. I think it's more that the meal is over and done with, so the happiness was consumed on the spot and remembered. The house continues and you enjoy it sometimes but are burdened by it too. You have mixed feelings over a long period of time. It's not a memory.
And experiences come with one more benefit: They tend to bring us closer to other people, whereas material things are more often enjoyed alone. (We tend to watch our new television alone on the couch, but we rarely head to a wonderful restaurant or jet off to Thailand solo.)That's why you might want to bring loved ones into that house of yours. And why is there no mention of the nonwonderful restaurants and nonwonderful flights overseas?
So, doing things with other people makes a difference for happiness, and our research suggests that doing things for other people can provide an additional boost.That's obvious and not about how you spend your money. Dropping dollars on restaurant meals and travel won't necessarily get you better social connections.
In experiments we've conducted around the world, including in Canada, the United States, Uganda and South Africa, we find that people are happier if they spend money on others. And we've found that spending even just a few dollars on someone else provides more happiness than using the cash to treat yourself.This is why we love to pay taxes, no?