It’s well known that money can’t buy you happiness. And there’s ample evidence that money can’t buy you taste: Drake spent $400,000 on an iPhone case; hotels in Dubai sell gold-topped cappuccinos; Dan Bilzerian exists. But it is possible to use money to buy things which will improve your life – and they needn’t be flashy. Here are five low-key(ish) ways to spend your hard-earned cash, in ways which won’t suggest you’re contributing to the end of human civilisation.
Forget Beats by Dre (although definitely watch The Defiant Ones on Netflix if you haven’t already – it’s fantastic), if you’re after headphones which look great and boast ludicrously high sound quality, Californian firm Audeze has got what you need. The wireless Mobious headphones offer 3D audio, delivered via planar magnetic drivers. It’s serious technology – founding engineer Pete Uka previously worked for NASA – but it lends itself to an unparalleled gaming experience. Thanks to its vividly accurate WAVES Nx head-tracking technology, you feel like you’re physically in the centre of whatever game you’re playing – making the zombies in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that much more terrifying.
Sure, it’s an exercise bike. But, thanks to canny design, a slick interface and a starry clientele (Hugh Jackman and Barack and Michelle Obama are among its celebrity fans), it’s currently the exercise bike. The big pull is that you can log on and join fellow Peloton cyclists across the world in cycling along to a live-streamed class. All the clubby, endorphin-raising euphoria of a normal spin class (and, obviously, all the hideous, sweat-soaked, lactic-acid burning agony of a normal spin class) from the comfort (and discomfort) of your own home. You get detailed stats and metrics logging your ongoing performance. You get a sense of community, bonding you with your fellow Peloton riders and the hilariously beautiful instructors. The experience is almost infinitely customisable – Peloton allows you to select the difficulty, duration, instructor, and music genre. Want to work out to folk music? You can! (Also – why?) It is, of course, possible to take this too far; a Silicon Valley exec allegedly travels to work in a chauffer-driven van, which contains a Peloton bike, which he rides. Hmmm, if only there was a simpler way…
Leica are German lens makers par excellence, and their cameras are almost universally handsome, serious pieces of kit. The Leica CL – a digital reissue of a 1970s analogue classic - is exactly that; a winning combination of high-end, compact, lightweight and beautifully designed. The body, constructed from anodized aluminium and magnesium, is a triumph of Teutonic engineering – it feels like quality, because it is. The LCD screen allows for extremely straightforward shooting, the camera boasts a remarkable dynamic range, and it works with a host of lenses. Is it the punchiest, highest-spec camera on the market? Absolutely not. But few cameras do more, or look better, for less.
The audiophile’s saviour – Mojo DAC/Headphone Amplifier, from £399, chordelectronics.co.uk
‘DAC’? That’s a digital-to-analogue converter – a device designed to translate the binary information of digitised music into audio. Specialised, external DACs can wildly improve the quality of your existing equipment, and the Mojo, created by British firm Chord Electronics, is one of the very best. It’s tiny, no larger than a pack of cards – ‘Mojo’ is short for ‘mobile joy’ – and connects to any set of headphones (in fact, it’s got room for two), souping up the sound quality immeasurably. If you’re an audio nerd, you’ll feel a pang of arousal over the tonal balance and outrageous upper sampling rate limit of 768kHz. If you’re a layperson, you’ll simply bask in sound quality far, far better than you’re used to.
The timesaver app – from £2 per item, ihateironing.com
We’ve all been lied to. A University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School study has demonstrated that money, in fact, can buy you happiness. Or rather, spending money to give yourself more free time is linked to greater ‘life satisfaction’. So, for those people for whom doing the laundry doesn’t spark joy (it feels uncontroversial to guess that includes ‘most people’), the ihateironing app might be the answer. The company collects and returns your laundry to your door – and offers services including dry cleaning, alterations, shoe repair, and, of course, ironing. It risks being addictively convenient; clothes collected at 7-8am can be back with you by 5 - 6pm the same day. And for those who do glean joy from their laundry? Wash on. Just don’t spend your subsequent savings on a $2 million gold bathtub.
Main image credit: Melodie Jeng via Getty Images