Sufficiently good hedonism

Acceptable trade-offs between limited time and limited cash

The Good Life as far as I recognise it.

Spending money in a way that actually brings happiness is surprisingly hard because we lack insight into our own happiness. So, here are some notes.

Good happiness ROI

Putanumonit’s Shopping for happiness summarisses Dunn and Norton (2014):

Happy Money lists five principles of happy spending:

  1. Buy experiences
  2. Make it a treat
  3. Buy time
  4. Pay now, consume later
  5. Invest in others

Or, in podcast form, Elizabeth Dunn on the You Are Not So Smart podcast.

The art of frugal hedonism:

It is easy to use spending money as mental confirmation that something of value is being obtained. We can equally choose to relish and recognize value in experience, atmosphere, sensuality or company. The more we make such choices, the less urge we have to treat ourselves by ‘buying something nice’ when life feels hard. That urge might be transformed into a yen to go lie in the park on a blanket and watch clouds for an hour. And before you protest that such experiential pleasures take time that most modern humans don’t have, let us remind you that time is exactly what you can choose to have more of when you spend less money.

Distraction disrupts pleasure:

“It was always thought that hedonism, as opposed to self-control, was the easier option,” says Bernecker. “But really enjoying one’s hedonic choice isn’t actually that simple for everybody because of those distracting thoughts.”

TODO: unboxing. Why?


See money and trading.


Is buying housing a good use of time/money? This question is a little bit special in Australia which has a massive state social and financial engineering program to prop up a quasi-landed gentry system.


Bernecker, Katharina, and Daniela Becker. 2020. Beyond Self-Control: Mechanisms of Hedonic Goal Pursuit and Its Relevance for Well-Being.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July, 014616722094199.
Dunn, Elizabeth, and Dr Michael Norton. 2014. Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending. Reprint edition. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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