Does Money Buy Happiness?


Zoe Lowenthal '25, Writer

Purchasing and accumulating materialistic belongings will not make you happy. Materialistic items will never fully satisfy our desire for happiness, though they may provide temporary joy. In most cases, the happiness found in purchasing new physical possessions lasts only a few hours or days at most due to the release of dopamine that occurs when one makes a new purchase. People feel compelled to purchase new items because they are self-conscious and bored of  wearing or using what they already own. When people buy items to follow a trend and fit in, they are not doing so out of insecurity. Everyone wants to fit in, and this pressure is what causes us to waste money on frivolous purchases. Materialistic items accumulated solely to conform to societal “norms” are unhealthy and will not make you happy in the long run. When you buy something, you gain a sense of control that we all crave from time to time as humans. After a long day, rewarding yourself with a gift or engaging in some “retail therapy” is not a bad thing, but if someone is relying on shopping to help their long-term mental health issues, that is a problem.

People who are constantly shopping in order to distract themselves from their lingering sadness have been labeled “shopaholics,” and they will discover that once the initial joy of their purchases has worn off, they are left with even more problems than they started with. Although shopping allows you to escape reality and is a quick way to feel better, amassing more and more items has negative consequences. These issues include financial issues and clutter in your home, both of which can lead to additional mental health issues. Overall, money cannot buy happiness. It can buy you a new pair of shoes or a fun vacation, both of which will give you a sense of temporary joy, but that dopamine will eventually wear off and you will be left feeling the same as you did before your purchases.