This was the assignment given to participants in a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, while others were also given money except they were told to spend it on themselves. What did they find? That “people who spent money on other people got happier,” while for “people who spent money on themselves, nothing happened.”
Michael Norton presents the findings in this eleven minute Ted Talk. Interestingly, from buying someone else a cup of coffee to giving the money to a homeless person, they found that the exercise had the same effect – it didn’t matter how the person spent the money, it only mattered that they spent it on someone else in order for it to have a positive effect on their happiness.