Purchasing books, video games or other experiential products designed to enhance your buying experience can make you just as happy as travelling.
While life experiences help consumers feel closer to others, such products allow them to utilise and develop new skills and knowledge, resulting in similar levels of happiness, a new study showed.
"This is sort of good news for materialists," said Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.
"If your goal is to make yourself happier, then you should buy things that are going to engage your senses," Howell added.
For the study, researchers asked consumers about a recent purchase and how happy that purchase made them.
Expecting that material items would provide the smallest happiness boost and life experiences the largest, with experiential products falling in the middle, they were surprised to find that experiential products actually provided the same level of happiness as experiences.
"They are essentially two different routes to the same well-being," Howell said.
"If you are not feeling very competent, the best way to alleviate that deprivation would be through the use of experiential products. On the other hand, if you are feeling lonely, you should buy life experiences and do things with others," Howell added.