A new psychological study suggests that it is the experience of making certain purchases (like movie tickets, meals in restaurants) that bring us happiness, by satisfying higher order needs for social acceptance and vitality, rather than the actual products involved. "These findings support an extension of basic need theory, where purchases that increase psychological need satisfaction will produce the greatest well-being," said Ryan Howell of San Francisco State University. In his experiment, Howell asked participants to answer a series of questions about recent purchases. The common theme was that people saw experiential purchases as money better spent, regardless of the amount spent or the income of the individual. “Purchased experiences provide memory capital… We don’t tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object”.
Buying experiences, not possessions, leads to greater happiness, EurekAlert.org