Life’s little luxuries come at a price but you don’t always have to buy them outright.

Artbank's Sydney showroom. Image by Jenni Carter

[tweetmeme only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5DResearch shows when it comes to making us happy, experiences give us much better bang for our buck than things. While things make us happy in the short-term, our satisfaction soon wanes. On the other hand the pleasure we get from experiences starts high and often increases over time.*

So when we’re creating our budgets this is a good thing to take into account – especially if we need to cut back on spending.

But what about those things we just can’t live without? What about those little luxuries – sports cars, fancy handbags, art – that are so good just having them in our possession is an experience?

The truth is it’s often possible to experience our favourite things ‘part-time’ without actually having to buy them. It’s just a matter of examining what it is that actually gives us satisfaction, and figuring out another way to access it.

Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

speed:

Just because you enjoy driving fast, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy an expensive sports car. And let’s face it even if you do, you probably won’t get many chances to drive it out on the open road. So one thing you may like to consider is rally car driving. Check-out Adrenalin – they offer motor sports in all states ranging in price from $150 for V8 hot laps to $665 for a Lamborghini ride or $1265 for an intensive one-day Porsche driving program.

art:

If you like being surrounded by great artwork, want to emanate a degree of sophistication in your office waiting room or just want a discussion starter for dinner parties, you can choose from an amazing range of Australian artwork for rent at artbank. Started by the Australian Government, the artbank collection includes works from renowned artists like Bill Henson, Patricia Piccinnini and Tracey Moffatt, and prices start from as little as $110 per artwork per year.

fashion:

If high-end fashion is your weakness, it’s possible to look and feel the part without shelling out big bucks for items that will be out of season by the time you finish paying off the credit card. Online stores like love me and leave me, let you rent designer handbags, jewellery and other designer accessories on a weekly or monthly basis. So you can enjoy the luxury of your accessory for a special occasion, your first week at a new job, or just until you want to trade it in for a newer design.

*Gilovich and Carter, Cornell University, 2010