This has caused me to really think. In the past I would have just wanted some whizbang gadget or computery thing. At the moment though I'm not really finding anything I'm itching to own. I find myself really giving consideration before taking new stuff into my life. Will this really bring me happiness or is it just next week's clutter? Next year's goodwill pile?
I also thought about some things that I have spent money on in the past few years that really did bring long term joy to my life or otherwise really impact my quality of life. I realized they mainly boil down to elemental level improvements. We've installed two skylights so far. With the design of the house it could probably take about 10 more and not look silly. Each one costs about $1700. But every morning I wake up enriched by them. I really feel like I get $1700 more happiness out of them every day. I'd install 10 more tomorrow if I could. It's not the skylight, it's having more natural light in my life. That feels priceless. We're hoping to get screens on all the windows this year, more mosquito/moth free fresh air sounds equally priceless. Not to mention high quality toilets that replaced the old ones!
Zoe mentioned the home automation stuff was like that for her. It sounds gimicky on the surface, but when you adjust to being able to control the lights from a web page or remote without moving the alternative begins to feel bizarre. Who wants to trudge downstairs to turn off the bedroom illuminating outside lights you forgot to turn off when you're half asleep.
A while back I setup a back yard webcam that updates our laptop backgrounds every five minutes. In part I just thought it would be neat. In part though I wanted to give my computer use a circadian rhythm. It's really worked. On rare occasion when the camera update process gets hung up I find it really jarring when the desktop is bright and sunny late at night or dark in the afternoon.
I'm still at a bit of loss as to how I can reward myself in a way that will improve each day as these things have. Well at least thru spending. It's not lost on me these are fortunate problems to have.