How to Spend Money and Be Happy
Only when you travel to a developing country do you realize that the relationship you keep with money is not as healthy as it should be. Unfortunately, as the #1 consumer of goods in the world, spending is part of our culture.
Most people can not save a single dollar at the end of the month. It does not matter whether they earn $1,000 a month, 2,000 or 3,000: they adapt their level of expenses to their income level, creating material needs that do not exist and that relate to their sense of happiness. These people see it as normal to live on just a couple weeks worth of payroll.
However, we did not come here today to put your personal finances on a diet. We are going to analyze how we should spend the money to be happy.
Do not buy things, buy experiences
We are used to buying goods and services to satisfy material needs. The problem is that sometimes those needs are not real, rather, they are the result of the consumerist spiral that surrounds us. Nobody needs to change their smartphone every two years or renew part of their wardrobe every season change. We live with too many things around us and we believe that we are happier, but we are wrong.
Instead of buying things, you should buy experiences. Pause a moment to think what your happiest memories of the last five years are. Most are experiences. The rush to buy a new smartphone will hardly last a few days. However, the euphoria after having spent a couple of weeks on the beach with your partner increases as time goes by, each time you remember it.
Buying experiences and feeling alive while you enjoy or remember them is one of the best things you can do with money, if not the best.
Make each purchase something special
When you get used to something, that something loses its value. It is known as the habituation principle. It occurs when we become something normal in our daily routine, it stops providing us with happiness.
With shopping, the same thing happens: buying to buy will not give us any happiness, but quite the opposite. Only by making each purchase an exceptional gift, we will enjoy spending the money.
We have become accustomed to the world going too fast. There are days when the alarm goes off and you know you’re going to be late for everything: take a shower, take the dog out, breakfast, leave the children at school, drive to work … We live deeply stressed looking at the clock and that can not be good for health.
Spending money on buying time to reduce those tasks is another of the great uses we can make of it. We buy time when shopping online instead of going to the supermarket, when hiring a person for household chores or even when buying a car to get to work earlier.
Saving time is very necessary. The rhythm of life that we lead leaves little free time to enjoy the family and the things that are truly important. Your son is important, cleaning the house or your work are not. And sometimes, buying time is the only solution to enjoy those pleasures.
Pay today for the things you will enjoy tomorrow
In recent years, rivers of easy and cheap credit have sprung up. We have become accustomed to enjoying today the things we will pay for tomorrow. From mortgages to personal loans to spend a weekend at an exotic beach. We’ll pay for it little by little, right?
What we propose is just the opposite: buy only the things you can afford with the money you have saved. In other words, pay now to enjoy tomorrow. Leave aside debts, pay cash and under no circumstances spend what you do not have.
Invest in others
Call me a mystic, but I am of the opinion that for everything you give to the world, the world ends up giving back to you. As social beings that we are, we should not think only of ourselves, but also of people who directly or indirectly relate to us. Investing in them has a surprising effect on our happiness and is another of the great uses we can make of money.
When you spend a dinner with your friends, in a weekend plan to surprise your partner or travel 500 miles to visit your parents, you are investing in the happiness of these people. Another possibility is that you invest in strangers, for example, through a donation to a cause that you previously bothered to investigate a little.
Much of this seems simple. That’s what makes it so beautiful. Take a pause and see if you can apply even one of these principles to your daily lives. The world can wait.