Buy Material Goods That Help Improve Experiences
The exceptions to the experience vs. things rule are things that help us improve our experiences. This category of “experiential goods” includes electronics, musical instruments, and sports and outdoor gear that helps us get outside. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that “experiential products provide similar levels of well-being compared to life experiences and more well-being than material items.”
For example, a smartphone can help us to communicate with others, and self-improvement apps on the phone can help better our lives in the long-term. Even though the phone itself might not produce happiness, it’s a conduit to experiences that do make us happy.