Can money actually buy you happiness?

free and relax of businessman under blue sky

It's said that money can't buy happiness - but is that really true? Not necessarily, research has found.

Last year, a team from Case Western Reserve University found that increased earnings make you happier up until the $200,000-a-year mark - about £157,000 - but beyond that, make no difference at all.

SEE ALSO: Britain's youngest lottery winner says it was a 'curse'

SEE ALSO: How does a lottery win change people?

And in a study earlier this year from Cambridge University, researchers discovered that spending money does make you happier, but only if that spending lines up with your personality.

For example, people who score well for 'agreeableness' in a personality test are likely to spend more on charities and pets - and the more they spend, the more likely they are to be happy.

However, as a general rule, there are some things that money lets you do that cheer more or less everybody up - and it's not the luxury goods that you might expect.

"Instead of a bigger McMansion or a mega yacht, spend money on experiences you love," recommends banking comparison site Go Banking Rates.

"From bungee jumping off Victoria Falls to sailing on a round-the-world cruise, money lets you have once in a lifetime experiences that can bring joy or fear to your heart."

And one of the most sure-fire ways that money can make you happy is the fact that you can give it away. In fact, the UN World Happiness Report reveals that generosity is one of the biggest factors in making people happy.

"You'll get a dose of happiness every time you donate to a charity or buy flowers for a friend," says Go Banking Rates.

It's a lesson that lottery winners would do well to learn, with many reporting that their windfall hasn't made them any happier. Indeed, Jane Park, Britain's youngest lottery winner, has described her £1.9 million jackpot as a 'curse'.

However, a study in 1994 found that most lottery winners actually become less compassionate and generous after their stroke of luck, as well as noticeably more right-wing.

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How to holiday like the rich and famous
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How to holiday like the rich and famous
Who might you bump in to? Rihanna often returns to her Caribbean home country and spends time in the exclusive One Sandy Lane resort which boasts luxurious and palatial villas within one of the most illustrious addresses in the Caribbean. Other celeb spots might include Simon Cowell, Gwyneth Paltrow, the Beckhams... in fact, it's easier to list who DOESN'T stay here.
Who might you bump in to? The Hamptons is home to some of the most expensive properties in the US so it seems appropriate that the one of the music industry's power couple choose this area for their own holidays. Beyonce and Jay Z currently rent a £262,000 per month holiday home, which has its own movie theatre and bowling alley. Other celeb spots include Katy Perry, Ethan Hawke, Gwynnie (again).
Who might you bump into? This is Barack Obama's homeland - he was born in Honolulu Hawaii so it's no surprise that the president of the United States enjoys spending time with his family at Kailua Beach every Christmas. Other celebrities you might bump into here include Piers Brosnan, Jessica Simpson and Heidi Klum.

Who might you bump in to? George and Amal Clooney. Gorgeous George has a long history with the European country, having bought the 30-room Villa Oleandra near Lake Como for £5.3m back in 2002. Other celebs you might bump into here include Richard Branson, Tom Cruise and Madonna.

Who might you bump in to? The Beckhams have been married for 16 years now and the world famous couple recently celebrated David's 40th birthday in the Moroccan city. The couple stayed in the luxurious Amanjena resort, which has a 27-hole golf course, 33-metre swimming pool and spa.Other celebs you might bump into here include Poppy Delavinge.
Who might you bump in to?  Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous women in the world at the moment so it's no surprise that she splashed out on a 10 bedroom beach house in Thailand. Who else might you see here? Kate Moss, Beyonce and Jay Z.
Who might you bump in to?  It seems Taylor Swift likes to stay close to home while on vacation as she splashed out £11m on her Rhode Island home. The pop starlet reportedly likes to host her friends for 4th of July parties in her 10-bedroom pad. 
Who might you bump into here?  Aussie native Chris Hemsworth loves spending time in his home country and reportedly forked out £4.6m on his coastal holiday home in Byron Bay, New South Wales which also has its own private lagoon.
Who might you bump into here? Elle Macpherson may be best-known for strutting her stuff on the catwalk, but the supermodel lalso needs to take time to relax, just like the rest of us. Elle is a regular visitor the the Bahamas having bought a home there in 2006.  Who else might you see here? Johnny Depp, for starters.
Who might you bump in to here? Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Brangelina chose France as the host for their wedding last year which isn't surprising given that they bought the Château Miraval estate for an eye-watering £46m in 2008. The castle has 35 rooms, a private vineyard, a forest and a lake.  Who else might you see here? Take your pick. Everyone from Lady Gaga to Leonardo diCaprio loves to spend time in the south of France.
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