Happiness is a theme that Wall Street Journal ($$ reqd) often broaches on. From yesterdays edition:

Think carefully about how you spend your dollars. While a new car may not boost your happiness for long, maybe a trip to Europe would.

“Money itself doesn’t make you happy,” [Harvard psychology professor Daniel] Gilbert says. “What can make you happy is what you do with it. There’s a lot of data that suggests experiences are better than durable goods.”

The car might seem like the better purchase, because it has lasting value. But, in fact, it sits in the driveway, slowly deteriorating. “Experiences don’t hang around long enough to disappoint you,” Prof. Gilbert says.

The reason why “experiences” are better than “stuff” is

“Stuff” can be very enjoyable, even useful, and at times necessary, but after a purchase you will remain the same person simply using new ‘stuff.’

If you use money to have the opportunity for new experiences you are not the same again, even though the experience is but fleeting.