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How Money Can Buy Happiness


Money, they say, can’t buy happiness. This is perhaps because of the many negative connotations that the word money has. Money, in many cultures, is highly associated with materialism, hyperconsumerism, and even greed— reducing it from the many possibilities it can do.


But the association of negative meanings to money is missing a fundamental fact: that money is merely an object, and the way it is used by its creators (that’s us humans) enables its power or otherwise.


The power of money is limitless. Yes, it can buy happiness. But that’s as long as it is spent right. The point is to know how to make the right decisions, the right choices, and the right financial move.


Buying Security

Even if we turn the world upside down, we can never veer away from the fact that we need money to have our basic necessities covered. We need money to secure food, shelter, medicines, and even access to information. This may be a sad reality, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. Again, the point is to spend our money right. Make the right choices.


Here’s another important thing to remember: do not overspend, particularly on the basics. Secure just what you need. Consider just enough security to make you happy.


Buying Peace of Mind

Once the basic necessities are fulfilled, the next logical move is to invest in things worth investing, such as protection for your property, health, and even life. This is again one of the smartest moves one can do. Anisha Sekar, the Chief Consumer Advocate at the personal finance website Nerd Wallet, advises to buy some insurance for the simple reason–to have peace of mind.


Getting the worries and headaches that come with financial risks out of the way is key to feeling better about circumstances, and ultimately to being positive about life.


The Value of Small Changes

“Because we adapt easily to change,” Jeff Atwood of says, “the most effective use of money is to bring frequent change, not just ‘big bang’ changes that you will quickly grow acclimated to.” Atwood summarizes one principle proposed by psychologists Elizabeth Dunn, Daniel Gilbert, and Timothy Wilson in their paper If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Then You Probably aren’t Spending it Right published in 2011. The principle tells us to break up large purchases into smaller ones over time so we can savor the experience. This consequently spreads the happy feeling overtime. More will always be merrier.


The Value of Anticipation

Anticipation is a strong source of happiness. And this may be eliminated when one does impulse buying. Instant gratification, most often than not, leads one to buy things he can’t afford, and doesn’t truly want. Atwood suggests, citing one principle in the paper,“For maximum happiness, savor (maybe even prolong!) the uncertainty of deciding whether to buy, what to buy, and the time waiting for the object of your desire to arrive.”


The Value of Sharing

The same paper also proposes that we spend some part of our money to help others. Atwood summarizes, “Anything we can do with money to create deeper connections and reinforce positive feelings about ourselves and others.” Happiness, after all, is all about being positive at the end of day.


Using money for security, peace of mind, small changes, anticipation, and the happiness of others, are just some wise ways to spend money right. The point simply is that money can be used to buy happiness, only if we make the right decisions and choices.