Think that all purchases are created equal? Think again. While splurging on material items like a new car or iPad might bring fleeting pleasure, spending money on life experiences such as concerts, vacations and dining creates a more lasting impression and ultimately greater happiness.

Why do life experiences make us happier? Because these purchases often have a social component, they satisfy a basic need for connectedness, resulting in people feeling more alive. While you might be hooked on Angry Birds for a few straight days after getting a new iPad, its presence in your life soon becomes routine. Experiences have the potential to live on forever, and they bring us happiness every time we reflect back on them.

Our friends at help people make the connection between their spending habits and their happiness. Wondering what might be influencing how you think about and spend your money? Find out by going to, register and take the Spending Choices & Happiness survey.