From today's New York Times:
One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.
“ ‘It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch’ is basically the idea,” says Professor Dunn, summing up research by two fellow psychologists, Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich. Her own take on the subject is in a paper she wrote with colleagues at Harvard and the University of Virginia: “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right.” (The Journal of Consumer Psychology plans to publish it in a coming issue.)
Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html?pagewanted=2