That funky frilly miniskirt in the store display window would put you back a pretty penny, but boy – would you ever feel great stepping out in it on Saturday evening! Think back to your recent beach holiday or spa visit and how rejuvenated you felt afterwards. Looking for a cheaper happiness fix? A cup of luxury coffee during your next day out might do the trick.

Ladies, keep it up! Scientific research suggests that you need to spend your earnings for your own benefit. Penny-pinchers and perpetual savers would be well advised to spend some income to secure a bit of happiness in the here-and-now. While it’s wise and prudent to squirrel away some money for the children’s future college education, or in a retirement account, saving for the future may not be the only “investment” solution.

In fact, the best investment a woman can make to be happy is to spend on the little things rather than saving up for big, expensive items.

As Bo Derek once commented, “Whoever said money couldn’t buy happiness simply did not know where to go shopping.”

Spend Your Way to Happiness: Spend on Experiences, rather than Things

Materialistic women prefer to seek happiness by spending money on material goods, which are tangible and can be kept, rather than fleeting experiences. Science, however, points in a different direction towards happiness.

Research conducted by Cornell University showed that the degree of happiness that resulted from spending for an experience was greater than that from expenditure on tangible products. Now, why do you think that is? According to the research results, experiences are preserved in the human mind the same way that they were experienced. Nothing can ever change that memory. Tangibles, however, do not last a lifetime.

Also, when we women start comparing the quality and price of an item and determine that what we bought is inferior, or not quite as much of a bargain as our neighbour’s purchase, we feel disappointed. Similarly, we lose interest or regret buying something once trends shift and we regard our purchase as out-of-style. Doesn’t it, therefore, make sense to take nice vacations or dine at restaurants offering mouth-watering meals to invest in long-lasting happiness?

Related: Money Checklist for Your 20s, 30s, 40s

Spend Your Way to Happiness: A bit of Indulgence Boosts the Happiness Level

Working tirelessly towards building your career and managing your family at the same time can be challenging for any woman. Don’t you think you deserve to pamper yourself a little bit with your Christmas or New Year’s bonus? Even Wonder Woman treats herself once in a while – and you are no less a wonder woman than she is! You can hire a nanny or a housecleaner, which may well improve your mental wellbeing. A study conducted at Stanford University revealed that working women feel dissatisfied when they arrive home from work and feel the need to scrub the toilet.

Spend a little on your physical wellbeing as well. Invest in a gym membership or participate in marathons like the Standard Chartered Marathon, a Singapore event taking place in December each year. According to an analysis done by the UK government on spending habits for physical fitness, the spending itself enhances happiness to an unimagined level.

An investigation by Toronto University has shown that spending part of your income on activities to feed your creativity can also result in a higher level of happiness. Watching a Broadway show, going to the opera or enjoying paintings at an art gallery causes the brain to release large amounts of good chemicals that ensure your emotional wellbeing and, of course, this makes you feel happy!

Spend Your Way to Happiness: Spending your Money on Others

Were you ever in such a bad mood that you thought nothing or no one could ever fix it? Next time you feel this way, try the remedy of spending money on others.

According to an experiment conducted at the University of British Columbia, spending money on others can instantly alleviate a bad mood. It’s not how much you spend on others that are important: you just need to be generous enough to make them happy. Spending on others exceeds the happiness level you might feel when spending on yourself. You can give your parents, siblings, best friend, boyfriend/husband or workplace colleagues a treat by inviting them to a favourite restaurant or event, and the happiness you will feel will be like nothing you have ever felt before. You may also choose to make donations to others, or to a charity.

However, keep in mind that you may feel greater happiness making a individual donation rather than giving the money anonymously. After all, it’s in our human nature to be social and connect with the people around us in society.

Read: Female Investing Habits – Should You Invest in the Pink Portfolio?

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).