happy friends

Can money buy happiness? Depending on how you spend it, it can.

Did you know there’s a correlation between the action of spending money on others and feeling happy? According to a study done by psychologist Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia, tests show that people who choose to spend money on others are happier than those who choose to spend on themselves. It turns out, the region of the brain responsible for cravings and pleasure is activated when you give to others. That means we actually feel happy when we spend on others.

planning budget

That’s great science but how can we apply this regular dose of happiness into our daily lives? Is it easy to carve out a portion of your budget for spending on others and give regularly to causes, projects and people for a regular dose of happiness? Keep reading and we’ll show you how.

Here are a few examples where giving made big wins for all involved.

When Boston University straight-A student Alexis Felix’s family could not afford to pay for her tuition, her group of friends, family, and even strangers raised enough money on crowdfunding site GoFundMe to exceed her goal of $5000 so she could continue her education.

Wait But Why is one our favorite blog sites and it exists because of the 4,541 fans giving at least $1 a month on Patreon to support Tim Urban’s Quest to create long, in-depth articles on things like how to pick your life partner and how (and why) SpaceX will colonize Mars.

Even celebrities like Kevin Hart are getting in on the feel-good of giving and donating to emergency disaster agencies. He and other celebrities have been donating up to millions to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts like the Red Cross.

Hurricane Harvey Houston

But you don’t have to be a celebrity or millionaire to find a portion of your budget to spend on others.

For example, take Noha. She’s 30 years old with a full-time job and a long list of expenses to cover. After budgeting for herself, she’s left with $20 she can give to others. Twenty dollars may not be millions but it can do a lot. Noha can still feel really good about dividing the $20 each month to give to her favorite charity, a poet writing a book, her nephew who wants swimming lessons, and to her mother who wants to come visit her overseas.

Start maximizing your emotional health and consider how you want to give to others. Without a doubt, it will always be money well spent.