Daniel Tosh once quipped in his standup routine that anybody who thinks money can’t buy happiness has never sat in a sea-doo. We’re so completely saturated by a consumerist culture that says nirvana is only a Visa swipe away that most of us can’t help but pine for the days of log cabins and bear wrestling. But although a Shamwow might not scratch your existential itch exactly, it can’t be argued that some things, things purchased with the coin of the realm, can actually improve your life, make it measurably better, and thereby give you real, tangible happiness. Swagger has constructed a list of 20 things you can buy that will actually make you happier. Keep your cash at the ready.
#20. A New Computer
No kidding. Whether it’s a tablet, a laptop, a phone or a big hulking desktop (they still sell those right?) getting a new computing device is our culture’s best version of a clean slate. The slow-downs, the freezes, the hiccups and the shoddiness all gets traded in (albeit temporarily) for a quick, sleek machine that does things you didn’t
even know existed. Your old headaches and the thousand different idiosyncrasies of your old computer are a distant memory, and for at least a month or two you’re on the cutting part of whatever edge you bought into. It may be fleeting, but it’s no less awesome.
#19. A Beater
If you’ve got the capacity in your garage (or in your parents garage) to hold it, get yourself a shabby old muscle car. There’s something magical about getting your hands dirty tinkering with an internal combustion machine, it’s a connection to our past, and the further back you go the easier they are to understand. Anybody can
learn how to do it, and if you want to just keep it under a tarp, Bob’s your uncle. When you finally do get around to making it purr, you’ve got your Sunday’s figured out for the rest of your life.
#18. A Good Watch
In the age of cell phones this one might seem like a head scratcher, but dropping a chunk of change on a good watch does a great many things to make you happy. A good watch is essential swag, and for a woman it’s as good as a billboard screaming “My shit is together”. If you buy one that’s good enough, and treat it accordingly, a good watch is going to last forever, and it becomes an heirloom, something you hand down, like Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction, only without the…. you know.
#17. A Trip
A trip takes you through the stress of airports, the stress of packing, possibly the stress of not knowing the language and the stress of tourist traps, but there’s no better way to get into an adventure. One day we’ll all be crippled up by age and circumstance, and the things we’ll have are the stories of the places you’ve seen. Have you made love beside an open window in Paris? Have you seen the pyramids? Have you walked on the Great Wall of China? These memories are the real currency of life, and you’re robbing yourself if you don’t do it at least a few times.
#16. A Suit.
Even if you’re like me and you do most of your work from a laptop in a Starbucks, a man needs a decent suit. Go to a proper tailor, get sized exactly right, and splurge. A great suit makes anybody look and feel a whole lot better, and it’s good for any occasion at all. You’ll look professional when you have to look professional, you’ll look formal when you have to look formal, and when you’re out with a woman, it’s like ZZ Top always says, Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.
#15. A Leatherman.
You’ll have one for a day and wonder how you ever got through life without it. They’re good for absolutely any scenario, and you’ll look good to no end when somebody in the office is having a problem with a desk drawer, with a light fixture, even with opening a package. Useful is the new sexy.
#14. A Mattress.
The difference between a good bed and a great bed cannot ever be understated, ever. You’re going to spend more time there than anywhere else in the world, and the better you sleep, the better you are. Not to mention the ladies that fall asleep there will remember the experience fondly as well. Hard, soft, whatever floats your boat, go for quality. If you’re only going to splurge on one thing in your entire life, buy the best bed you can.
#13. A Cottage*
A holiday property might be a tall order, particularly for our generation, but the novelty of being able to drive North (or wherever) on any given weekend with a box of beer and put your feet up in a place where there’s way more trees than people is like having a trapdoor to freedom. They’re a shit-tonne of work and money to keep
up, but a refuge away from it all is worth it’s weight in gold.
(*It might be easier just to date a woman who’s old man already has one…just a
thought – ed.)
#12. A Piano (Or a guitar, or a saxophone, or a fiddle)
Buying a musical instrument is buying a hobby that you can never stop improving upon. Playing music is relaxing, it makes you smarter, and when you’re proficient enough at it (not before), it’s a cool thing to pull out at parties. They look good in your pad, they’re a conversation starter, and they’re something to do instead of playing video games when you’ve got down time.
#11. A Gym Membership.
Having a workout routine has advantages you already know about, but a gym membership means you always have an excuse to get outside and do something productive that doesn’t require a lot of planning or mental effort. Even if you’re not diligent about using it regularly, a gym membership means that on any given day you can just go out, work up a sweat and dissolve all your stress in an hour. Plus they’re all lousy with women who’ve spent years sculpting their asses into perfection, so there’s that too.
#10. A Ball Glove.
If you live in North America, you are never far from a diamond and a chance to go out there and burn off a little steam. Having a catch with your buddies, or your dad, or your kid, or your girl, is always a good investment of your time, and there’s just something about breaking in a glove, the smell of leather, the comfortable feel of something that you’ve molded for yourself, it’s impossible not to feel good about that.
It doesn’t have to be snobbish, it doesn’t have to be anything, but hanging a painting, or placing a sculpture, adds a level of refinement to your home. You can take your time with this one, but if you find something that makes you think, that makes you feel, something that tells you a story every time you look at it, it’s a good investment.
You can patronize a local artist, or you can do a worldwide search, but good art hung with care that means something to you will never fail to improve your life.
#8. An Entertainment Center.
We spend a lot of our leisure time consuming electric media, and the market for today allows for some high quality stuff for reasonable prices. Remember that the most important thing is sound, there is no substitute for good sound, it makes music, movies, games and even your computer a higher quality experience that you’ll take for granted until you’re forced to make do without it. You don’t have to go gaudy, or let your place look like a security command centre, but a good setup means you’re taking in the world a little better than anybody else.
#7. A Case of Wine.
If you get out there and try enough, you’re going to find a bottle of vino that resonates with you. The kind of wine that hits you the same way that one song on the radio that plays when you’re driving away from her house hits you. When you find it, buy a case and find out how to keep it properly so you can share it with friends and family. If it’s the right kind of red, you can keep it for years, and if it’s not, it’s an excuse to drink all twelve inside of a year.
#6. Season’s Tickets
You’ve got a team, we all do, and there’s a sublime joy, win or lose, in knowing you have “your seats” and can go see them play at your leisure. Apart from the novelty, most sports franchises go above and beyond to show their season ticket holders the love, so extra bonuses and unannounced specials are the rule, not the exception. If
you get one beside your buddy, you’ve got a season-long excuse for a boy’s night out that your better half can never object to, and if you can’t make a game, you’ve instantly made 50 friends that would be only too happy to take the tickets off your hands.
#5. A House.
Not just any house. Not a starter house that you and your family have outgrown five minutes after you moved in, but “The House”. The house you want to set up shop in, raise kids in, build permanent shit for, that house. It’s the largest investment most of us will make, it’s where things will be flooded, weather beaten, broken and egged by teenagers, but it’s the place we’re proud of and the place we have to work extremely hard to own.
#4. A Dog.
This is definitely an expenditure that keeps on costing, but having a good dog around is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. A good dog is your confidant, your most loyal buddy, your excuse for exercise, and your never-fail woman magnet. You can get a dog that suits just about any living arrangement you can imagine, and they work for kibble. There’s a bunch of studies out there that say spending time with an animal is good for pretty much anything that ails you, but all you really need to know is that scratching your dog behind the ears can put any
problem into perspective.
#3. A Toolbox
Shit is going to break, it’s the way of the world, and it usually means making your way to the hardware store to pick up a one-off tool. Having a place to put all the weird screwdrivers, pipe fittings, nails, tape measures and keep them organized will save you more time and effort than having your super on your speed dial ever would. And if the girl from accounting ever calls in a panic because her sink is leaking all over her condo, well, you must do this kind of thing all the time, arent’ you a hero.
#2. A Class Ring.
You graduated from College, that’s a big deal no matter what kind of economy we’re in. Be proud of your accomplishment and have something good to remind you of
the time, money and effort you spent. The older you get, the more you realize how
instrumental those years were in making you the man you are today. You don’t
always have to wear it, but you’ll find occasion to someday.
#1. An Engagement Ring.
I can hear a legion of folks out there sucking their teeth. It’s not, I repeat, it’s not for everyone, but marriage, the monogamy, the family, and everything else it entails, makes you happy. A well-adjusted (and brother that makes all the difference) marriage means you’ll be statistically happier than if you decided to remain a bachelor, they’ve done studies, but it should be obvious. Buying that ring when you’re ready is going to give you happiness and contentment you’ve never thought possible (honest).
Written by: Jeremy Beal