They say money can’t buy happiness, they say money can’t buy love. What ‘they’ mean is that the wealthy people aren’t necessarily happier than those who are poor. They just have different worries and stresses. There are hugely wealthy people with depression and people on the national average who are entirely content (though a US survey has found that depression is twice as common among the poor).
Still, you don’t have to be Warren Buffett or even earn the big bucks to use your money in a way that emotionally benefits you. What if you could use the money you have (no matter how little!) to make you happy. That’s the dream.
Funnily enough, the Journal of Happiness states that it can be done. One interesting way it believes money can buy happiness is based in the motivation behind the actual purchase.
If you’re buying for a altruistic reason, you’re way more likely to get a rush of endorphins than if you’re binging on the fourth takeaway pizza of the week. For all those among us who love buying birthday presents, you know what we mean!
The inside scoop? Spend you so spend your money with the right motivation and you’ll have a skip in your step all day. Check out some other ways money can buy you happiness right here:
5. Spend your money on others (sensibly!)
So as mentioned above, spending money on other people can actually improve your mood (Michael Norton has a great TED talk on this which you can watch below).
Charity is the obvious way to do this. From animals to academia, there are so many charities and foundations you can donate to, you’ll be spoiled for choice!
Already give to charity? You can invest your money in others and make a profit. Companies like Funding Circle allows savers to lend money directly to businesses and micro-lending sites like Kiva give you an opportunity to invest small amounts of money in the cottage industries in some of the most deprived parts of the world.
Of course, above all, donate or invest responsibly. You can’t change the world if you go bankrupt!
4. Invest in your greatest asset…You!
Education is one of the only things you can invest in which the return is guaranteed. In a fast moving world those who are not keeping up will fall behind fast.
You are the greatest asset you have and the bigger, smarter, more capable your asset is the more it will earn. Sharpen your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses, learn what interests you and turn off that damned box which is sucking your energy! Think about the life you want to be living and then chase that life. Get financially capable so you can make the most of your money, and develop your employability skills so that you are always in demand.
Invest in your skills, invest in your education and invest in your health. These investments will pay dividends now and well into the future.
3. Live below your means you’ll be glowing with joy
Having less going out than coming in is the ultra trick to financial security and the easiest way to be happy with money.
Once you have paid for the roof over your head, food in your belly, fuel in your car and bills in your home, you should have money left over. If not and (heaven forbid) your car or your TV breaks, you’ll really struggle to save the cash to get it sorted.
For many cutting down to get to this point means putting your money where it will give you the biggest bang for your buck. That probably means reconsidering the takeaway meals and coffees, that gym membership you don’t use, the cigarettes you might be smoking, the weekly downloads, the lottery tickets…
N.B. If cutting back isn’t possible and more is going out than is coming in then speak with someone who can help with your situation.
2. Don’t use your money to buy ‘stuff’
We’re making sure this blog isn’t #NSFW, so we’ll say stuff instead of another S-word. But you know exactly what we mean.
Buying random stuff or impulse purchasing (we’re talking those sweets right near the check-out) doesn’t result in long lasting happiness. That new mobile you upgraded early will bore you in a couple of months, the new dress will lose its appeal the second you see someone wearing the same one at a party. Stuff is a temporary mood lifter (like chocolate), but more often than not you’ll regret it (like chocolate)
You know what kind of spending will make you happy? Much much happier than buying material things?
1. Buy life experiences
See how we did that?
Have you got a bucket list? If not, why not? The best way to spend your money is by making amazing memories of the incredible things you have done. Whether those things include learning to surf in Bondi, to cook in Tuscany, climbing Everest, or doing the Three Peaks challenge, good memories will make you happy.
But those memories will only be sweet if there is some money in the bank in a savings pot with your name on it, a pension somewhere, and maybe your own place (or the deposit for one). Memories made of debt will give you nightmares in the long run.