Can Money Buy You Happiness?

can money buy you happiness

Can money buy you happiness? Think about it - if in general you are an unhappy person, but tomorrow you won the LottoMax jackpot of $30 million dollars (tax free) would you suddenly become a happy person? Initially I think many people would.

But it goes along the same lines as when a person that is heavy says “I will be happy when I lose 50 pounds” or whatever they want to lose. Again, you may feel happy the first few days, but how long will it last? You see here’s the thing – if you aren’t happy today, for whatever reason, chances are that more money or less weight won’t really change the way you feel on a long term basis.

Ways to Feel Happy

So what can we do to ensure that we are happy everyday? Here are a number of ideas to help you get started.

Random Acts of Kindness

Do something special for someone else just because you can. Maybe that means holding the door open for someone else the next time you go shopping. Or maybe it means shoveling the neighbor's sidewalk before they get home. Just do it, and do it with a smile.

Manage Relationships Better

For some people managing relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers comes easy for them, and for some people it doesn’t.

Those that struggle with it may find that they are sad or angry after a conversation with their mother, or they are upset that their adult kids never phone them.

Those feelings then pass on to other areas of their lives, and after a while they just have this general feeling of being unhappy no matter what happens.

If you struggle to manage your relationships well think about what you can do to change that.

Manage the Money You Currently Have, Better

For years I didn’t pay too much attention to my finances. I worked, I got raises and bonuses, I paid my bills, went on trips, bought houses and cars, and for a number of years it all worked out well.

But then I made a major change without considering my finances.

And then a few unexpected life altering changes happened to go along with that, and the next thing I knew we had a pile of debt and we couldn’t keep up with the on-going bills.

For a few years I was very scared, unhappy and stressed out.

But I finally realized that the only way to be happy again was to learn how to make more money and to do a better job of managing the money as it came in.

The lesson here is that taking control of your money can eliminate all the fear and worry, and make room for more happiness.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

You have two choices, you can wait until you lose 50 pounds and then see if you are happy or you can simply be happy that you are making positive changes to look after yourself as of today, and be happy for every single pound that you lose.

Get Organized

Why would getting organized make me happy? Because when you are organized your stress levels are lower.

And when your stress levels are lower it is easier to relax.

And when a person can relax and take a deep breath it is easier to see things in a positive light, which in turn helps you be a happier person.

Give Yourself a Break

Take time out of each day to just be with you. Go for a walk around the block or go for a run, if that is something you enjoy.

Make a nice coffee or lemonade and sit out in the sun for 20 minutes.

Or if it is freezing out, run yourself a hot bubble bath and soak in the tub for 20 minutes.

Whatever works best.

Reward Yourself

When was the last time you rewarded yourself for anything?

When was the last time that you told yourself “congrats on a job well done”?

We all need to do this more often.

Smile at Yourself

Have you ever smiled at yourself in the mirror?

Try it.

What’s the worst that could happen? You might start laughing. You might feel happy.

Remember “Smiles are Free”.

Smile at Others

How many people do you come in contact with throughout your day?

How many people do you pass on the street?

Do you smile at them?

Should you start?

Would it make you happy, or better yet, would it make them happy?

Be Patient and Kind to Others

Have you ever had an instance where you were accidentally or even intentionally rude to someone and then you felt like crap afterwards, and for days and months to come? It feels awful, doesn’t it?

Sometimes being patient and kind to others takes a more conscientious effort but in the long run you will be much happier if you are able to practice patience and be kinder to those you come in contact with.

Learn How to Relax

For some people a good way to relax is to practice yoga, meditate, or to go to the gym.

Others go for a walk, read a book, spend quite time alone.

If relaxing is difficult for you, try a few different things to see what works best.

Once you find what works best, keep doing it until it becomes a regular part of your daily routine.

Try Something New & Fun

Start a new hobby, sign up for a dance class or curling lessons.

Learn how to ski or ice skate.

Learn how to draw or paint, or try writing a book.

Be really adventurous and try hiking to the top of a mountain, or try zip lining, or jumping out of a plane.

Plan a Vacation

How can I plan a vacation if I don’t have any money?

Well, you can play an inexpensive trip and then you can save up for it.

Start today to plan a vacation for next year or the year after, even.

Many people do that.

It gives them time to find good deals, save up the money they need, and it gives them something happy and fun to look forward to.

So what, if the answer to "how many sleeps?" is 600 or longer. Go for it.

Throw a Party

Plan a small party with people that you enjoy being around.

Create a theme night, like Mexican or a pizza party, and ask everyone to bring something delicious.

Watch a Funny – Feel Good Movie

In your entire life what movie have you watched that you can honestly say made you feel good? Made you smile and left you feeling happy?

Commit to Making One Big Change

Have you been thinking about buying a new house, or simply moving out into your first apartment by yourself?

Have you been thinking about moving across the country or half way around the world, but been too afraid to do it?

Or have you been thinking about starting a new career or your own business?

Start investigating your options. Will you need more money to make this one big change?

Find out exactly how much you will need and then figure out what you can do to earn that money and how long it will take you.

Start making plans so that you can make that one big change in your life.

Stop Reading the Newspaper

Above all else, if you want to be happy, stop reading the bad news in the newspapers and on the Internet.

At first this will be difficult if you are use to scanning the news every single day.

Challenge yourself to stop reading the news for a day or two in a row, and see how you feel.

Then make it a week, and then a month.

Will you end up feeling out of touch with the world if you miss out on the news? No!

If something super important happens I am sure you will still hear about it somewhere. But in the meantime you will find that you will definitely be happier if you stop reading about all of the miscellaneous crap going on around the world. 

Be Grateful For What You Already Have

When I’m unhappy about my money situation or life in general, I quickly remind myself to be happy and grateful with what I have right now, because things could always be a lot worse, right.

So when was the last time you smiled at yourself in the mirror?


    • Holly@ClubThrifty

      Holly@ClubThrifty 03/07/2013 5:12 a.m. #

      Great post!

      Money can't really buy happiness but it can be spent doing things that make you happy- like taking a vacation, etc.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 11:21 a.m. #

        True, but if you can't afford a vacation right away, you can do some of these other things that make you feel happy as well.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 03/07/2013 7 a.m. #

      Good post Sicorra! We do quite a few of these and I think a lot of times it comes down to your attitude and realizing that you can choose to feel (general) how ever you want. Plus the fact that we have the kids around, we know they're sponges and want to model being happy to them. Though, I don't know that I could smile at myself in the mirror. ;)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 11:22 a.m. #

        I agree, it is very important to model a good, happy attitude, and even more so when you have children. They are definitely sponges whether some parents want to believe that or not, and they respond based on what they see and hear. I learned that many years ago when I would watch my niece as she played with her dolls. She would re-inact discussions that she heard her parents have either with her or between them, and she was only 3. That can be good or bad, depending on what goes on in the household.

    • Cat

      Cat 03/07/2013 9:08 a.m. #

      These are all great tips- I finally started exercising again yesterday and felt so much better. And I slept way better!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 11:26 a.m. #

        Thanks for stopping by Cat! I agree, one of the easiest ways to feel better is to get a good nights sleep :-)

    • Alexa

      Alexa 03/07/2013 10:53 a.m. #

      Money can't buy you hapiness, but the lack of it can make you miserable. If I get in a rut and am not feeling too positive, trying something new or hanging out with a new friend always makes me feel better.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 11:29 a.m. #

        Good to hear you are finding some ways to deal with the frustrations due to lack of money.

        I can so relate to how miserable it can make you feel especially when it feels like everyone wants your money but no one wants to pay you more. Yesterday we had 3 bills come in that I wasn't counting on and I heard myself say "why does everyone want my money?".

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 03/07/2013 11:25 a.m. #

      I love this post Sicorra!! Money or financial freedom certainly allows you the flexibility to do things you love and being in debt is absolutely a happiness robber. But I think being happy is also a state mind that doesn't necessarily reflect the money in your bank account. I've met many people who are very wealthy and very miserable because they don't use their money in a way that fulfills them. You have shared some great tips to help people, regardless of their financial situation, reacquaint themselves with their happiness, which ultimately may help them improve their financial situation more quickly too.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 11:37 a.m. #

        Thanks Shannon! It is definitely frustrating to have more debt then cash, but when that happens we really have to push ourselves to find other ways to be happy. And you are so right, there are a lot of wealthy yet unhappy people. In some cases it is because they get worn out by all of the responsibilities that come along with having to manage so much money and stay on top of things too.

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 03/07/2013 11:25 a.m. #

      These are all great tips, and I have definitely found that my quality of life is better when I am healthy, fit, and have things organized.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 11:38 a.m. #

        Thanks DC! I feel the same way. Now I would be even happier if I could just tear myself away from this computer and go clean my house :-)

    • krantcents

      krantcents 03/07/2013 2:33 p.m. #

      Good points, although I am pretty happy. I love what I do. I have a happy, long (44 years) marriage, successful (adult) children and my retirement nest egg is set. I really have very little to be unhappy about.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 5:05 p.m. #

        Sounds like a wonderful life :-) Congrats on 44 years of marriage!

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 03/07/2013 2:41 p.m. #

      Don't worry, be happy...I love that song, no matter how goofy it sounds :) This is a great post and proves that it doesn't take much to be happy.

      I never agreed with people when they say money buys you happiness, unless they are paying it forward and helping others by donating to charities or helping out their family then yeah it can be fulfilling having a nice hefty bank account but never for selfish reasons.

      When I was training as a service rep we were given a mirror and told to talk with a smile on our face. At first I thought it was weird but there is some truth to that.

      Now you know me and this is my biggest challenge...learn to relax! I've been doing that lately and the extra rest is doing some good mentally and oh yeah I'm ready for a vacation...don't care if it's spending the night at a hotel in Galveston for a day...just a little recharge is what I need :)

      You put some great ideas together...I've got to go back and watch the video. Hope you're having a great day!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 5:10 p.m. #

        Hey Corina! Thanks for stopping by!

        I remember those mirrors in the call centers at the office I did IT support in. It was extremely beneficial for the call center reps that were dealing with difficult customers too. It helped them maintain a good attitude and not go crazy on the phone due to a difficult call.

        And you just brought up a really good point about a night in Galveston. So many of us never find the time to do tourist like stuff in the area we live in and miss out on some good stuff. Booking a night in a local hotel with your husband and away from the kids would be a perfect way to relax without spending a ton of money. Go for it!!

    • Pauline

      Pauline 03/07/2013 3:54 p.m. #

      Great tips Sicorra. I often wonder why we don't treat ourselves better. People usually accept more from others and are more severe on themselves. A healthy diet, me time, exercise... all make you a better person and better for others too.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/07/2013 5:12 p.m. #

        Thanks Pauline! Sometimes we are our own worst critic, aren't we? That only makes us even more unhappy.

    • KK @ Student Debt Survivor

      KK @ Student Debt Survivor 03/07/2013 8:05 p.m. #

      I used to watch the news every night, now I read online news ever once in a while, but purposefully try to avoid it, because it's always so negative. Love random acts of kindness, proof there are still good people in the world.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/08/2013 3:14 p.m. #

        I've always noticed that after watching the news or reading newspapers online that I instantly feel sad and upset for the people that were affected in the stories. Things will continue to happen whether we watch or not, but at least we can feel happier by not watching.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 03/08/2013 5:40 a.m. #

      Wonderful post, Sicorra! All great tips that do indeed go a long way toward increasing happiness. I love the one about stopping reading the newspaper. I've noticed that on days when I read the news on the Net, I do indeed get depressed! Have a great weekend. :-)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/08/2013 3:15 p.m. #

        Yes, I've noticed that as well Laurie. When I see a news headline on Google I have to really fight with myself to not click on it because I know I will regret it.

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