Money can’t buy love. Money can’t buy happiness.
We hear these clichés frequently, but I loved this article from investment firm Vanguard that suggests you can, in fact, buy happiness — if you spend your money on the right things.
A snippet from a Q&A with MP Dunleavy, author of “Money Can Buy Happiness: How to Spend to Get the Life You Want”:
Question: You tell your readers to take inventory of the activities that make them the happiest. Why do you think people don’t spend time on these activities?
Ms. Dunleavey: That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Why don’t we gravitate toward the choices that would make us happier, healthier, wealthier? In almost every case, the biggest hurdle people face is their desire for instant gratification. Shopping is a lot more fun than saving (for many people). Eating is more pleasurable than working out (again, not for everyone, but for an awful lot of us). But those instant pleasures die fast. You buy that sweater or eat that fried rice . . . and you’re still craving something more, something else, something . . .
But if you shift your focus toward more substantive sources of satisfaction—which almost always involve people and experiences, not stuff—you might be willing to make happier choices. If you REALLY want to travel to Shanghai or buy a new mountain bike, because that would enrich your whole quality of life—not just the current 10 minutes—you might forsake the dumb sweater to put money toward your own greater happiness. It takes a while to retrain your impulses, but you can do it.
I get real pleasure and true happiness spending money on:
- Good, flavorful food from farmers market
- Piano lessons
- Beautiful and/or practical home furnishings
- Travel to someplace relaxing or inspiring
Therefore, I try to limit my spending on other things to make sure there’s room in the budget for these.
What do you spend your money on that brings you real happiness? Or are you not spending on things that bring you real joy?