“Money can’t buy happiness.”
It’s a popular quote, but it’s not entirely true.
Now, you may be thinking, “I thought happiness is found within?” Um, yes, you’d be right!
And “there are plenty of rich people that are still miserable!” That’s also correct.
So, obviously, money alone isn’t everything.
YET, money can buy all kinds of things that do indeed lead to happiness.
Money in the bank provides us freedom from stress and worry. And we then have the opportunity to travel, give, retire early, or do whatever lights us on fire!
What do you dream about? Most of our dreams require at least a little bit of cash. It’s not money itself that holds the power, but the freedom and opportunity it provides.
How To Use Your Money To Be Happier
Aside from time, money is one of the greatest tools we have to live the type of lives that we want.
We can’t squander that! While our income certainly affects us, in most cases it’s more important HOW we utilize our money for happiness.
So, here are four crucial ways to design your finances in a way that serves you best! So that you can continue to grow and fulfill those beautiful dreams of yours!
1. AN EMERGENCY FUND
In terms of happiness, having a financial cushion is the foundation of a life that’s stress-free and in control!
Unexpected expenses happen ALL THE TIME. We know them well because they come in all forms: little Johnny needs braces, the front window shattered, or you got laid off.
But these are a part of life, and it makes life so much easier to know that you have funds to cover yourself in times of hardship.
Many financial experts have differing opinions on how much should be in an emergency fund, but honestly, it depends on your risk tolerance.
Generally, 3 months of expenses on the low side up to a year on the high. So, think about what feels right to you.
Advocates of the bulked up emergency fund love the idea of having “FU money.” While the popular term is a bit brass, the idea behind it is genius.
You should have enough money that you are always in control of your life.
Live On Your Own Terms
Here are two examples of what the extra “FU money” is for:
Does your job all of a sudden suck? Or even just not spark passion? WALK AWAY. Life is too short to spend hours working at something you don’t love.
How many people do you know that have stayed in a job too long? In most cases, money is a major factor!
Are you in a lifestyle change? Take your time finding a new job, go back to school, or stay at home with the kids.
This extra money ensures that you have CHOICES and stress is at a minimum regardless of what life throws at you.
2. THINK OF YOUR FUTURE SELF
Friends, our future self is going to appreciate it if we aren’t broke.
In fact, not having to worry about money as you age is a massive happiness boost. According to financial author David Bach, studies show that 80% of women will outlast their spouses.
With your parents or grandparents, which gender lived on after the other? It’s a morbid thought, but it’s the reality. Do you know what happens then?
These poor widows have never thought about money before, so they have no idea what to do! Many of them end up destitute or dependent on their children.
If you get nothing else from this, PLEASE take the time to understand some of the basics of what is happening with your money.
Not only for your future self, but also because your thoughts and opinions matter now.
Then, make a plan to save for that amazing future on the horizon! Most financial gurus advise 10%. But to create real wealth, that number should be closer to 30% or even higher.
Start small, and slowly increase. The best tip is to take it out of your paycheck FIRST, as though it’s not even there.
This crucial investment will provide you with the mental advantage of never having to worry about where your money will come from.
Financial discipline = financial freedom. Not always easy, but true.
3. FIND THE BALANCE
In my own life, my husband and I are opposites, as I suspect many marriages are. I’m the saver, and he’s the spender. I love the idea of being in control, so I would squirrel away all of our money if he let me.
But, I appreciate that he helps me remember there is a balance.
Yes, we want to have happy and carefree later years, but what’s wrong with living now too? No one knows if we will be around when that future time comes.
The Sweet Spot
So, set boundaries, and experience life now as well.
We recently saved up and earned extra money to buy a car that my husband had dreamed about for years. He loves that car like it’s a child!
If that’s not your thing, travel with your spouse, or get your poor, stressed-out body a massage. These are memories in the making or personal investments, and they matter too.
Additionally, pinching pennies as an obsession can easily suck away happiness. So, work on that balance! I probably will until the day I die!
4. HOW YOU SPEND MATTERS
The other day, I listened to an enlightening podcast with the popular financial author Ramit Sethi.
He advised that you spend ridiculous amounts of money on what you love and bring you true joy. Then, spend crazy little on what you don’t.
Think about this concept in your own life. What do you spend money on that brings you the MOST happiness? Travel? Health? Clothing? What would it look like if you increase your spending on that by 10X?
It would be crazy, right?! Think of how much value that would add to your life!
Then, what do you spend money on that you just don’t care about? How could you scale back in that category?
Make A Shift
You may not shift spending by 10X, but the mental exercise gets you thinking.
So, upgrade your spending in what makes you happy, and downgrade in the areas that don’t truly matter to you.
It’s as simple as that, but it takes a little bit of soul searching to design it into your life!
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Before you go, make sure your finances reflect the happiness you want in your life! The goal is less about money itself and more about living life on your terms.
- Do you have an emergency fund, and perhaps “FU money” to walk away from any situation that no longer serves you?
- Are you saving money so that your future self has freedom and opportunity?
- Are you collecting life experiences or investing in your happiness NOW as well?
- And, is your spending highest in the categories of your life that bring you the most joy?
“Money can’t buy happiness, but it will certainly get you a better class of memories.” Ronald Reagan
Check out these other posts to help you be your happiest self:
- 9 Simple Habits to Instantly Create More Happiness
- A Self Care Checklist To Be Happier
- Invest In Yourself For A Healthy, Happy, & Impactful You (my recent guest post)