Personal Finance 

4 Ways Money CAN Buy Happiness

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Dirt Smiley FaceMany of us like to think that we don’t need money to be happy. While you may not be completely at the mercy of your paycheck for your happiness, the money you have can impact the level of contentment you feel about your life.

Even if you don’t think that you need as much as $75,000 a year to be happy, there are ways that money can buy happiness. Here are 4 ways that you can improve your outlook with the help of money.

1. Security

It’s hard to feel happy with your life when you are struggling to survive. An adequate income (whatever that happens to be for you), can provide you with the financial security you need to feel happy. There are fewer relationship problems when you aren’t stressed about money. When you have enough money to cover your needs and some of your wants, without trying to stretch the budget, you are more likely to feel better about your situation — no matter how much money you make.

2. Flexibility

Can you do what you want with your money? Do you feel as though you have options? Knowing that you have the ability to do something you enjoy can make a big difference. A little extra spending cash can go a long way. And it’s not just about a trip to Europe or a night on the town. Being able to buy a book without worrying about whether it’s going to break your budget, or to buy coffee once or twice a week without freaking out about the Latte Factor can increase your enjoyment of life. Sometimes, it’s the simple pleasures that matter.

3. Status

In some cases, it’s about status. Money can be a way of keeping score. While some say that lasting happiness can’t be found in comparing yourself to others, there are those that derive satisfaction from knowing that they make a certain amount of money. Sometimes, the status isn’t about where you stand in relation to someone else, but the progress you are making in your own financial situation.

If you feel as though you are improving your financial situation, you are more likely to feel good about what you’ve accomplished. From paying down debt to watching your retirement nest egg get bigger, your improving net worth can be a source of happiness and contentment.

4. Give to Others

Interestingly, you can buy happiness by giving your money away. When you spend your money on others, you feel good about what you’re doing. Whether you find the perfect “I’m thinking of you” $5 gift for your significant other, or whether you donate $20 to your favorite charity, or whether you do something bigger, just the act of focusing on someone else can make you happy.

For me, sometimes it’s about being with others as well. My husband and I love taking people out to dinner, since we enjoy good company and good food. We don’t mind covering the bill in those cases, especially when we are with loved ones.

Think about your relationship with money, and how you can take steps to use it in a way that makes you happy. When you spend wisely, and according to your personal values, you really can be happier.

(Photo: edenpictures)

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7 Responses to “4 Ways Money CAN Buy Happiness”

  1. Christian L. says:

    Giving money definitely makes people happier. There was a great Ted Talk from 2011 given by Michael Norton. He presents studies that suggest buying things for other people increased happiness. It’s incredible!

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  2. SLS says:

    Yes! I think when people say that money can’t buy happiness they usually have plenty of money and are secure in knowing that a loss of 1 or 2 paychecks won’t leave them without food or shelter. The idea of security is so important in establishing happiness. Life is so much harder when constantly looking for a full-time job, scraping by on part-time paychecks, and worrying about your immediate and long-terms future. I would be much happier, overall, if I knew that in 6 or 12 months I would still be ok financially and not have to keep worrying about how I am going to survive if I don’t get a full-time job soon!

  3. admiral58 says:

    Money can buy happiness

  4. It may not be able to buy happiness but it can go a long way in that direction. Good article.

  5. Shirley says:

    #4. One of the most memorable (and self-satisfying) simple pleasures I have experienced was anonymously helping a family who needed to make a trip for medical reasons. I still grin 30 years later when I remember their heartfelt joy.

  6. julie says:

    Thank you, very foundational!

  7. Carmen says:

    Great article! I totally agree on all 4 points, and yes #4 is especially close to my heart.

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