Money Can’t Buy Happiness, But…

by mzumtaylor on September 30, 2011

in Thoughts and Observations

I’ve been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and in Chapter 7 her Happiness Resolution is to “Buy Some Happiness.” This of course taps into the long-standing debate: Can money buy happiness?

I find this debate fascinating. One of my favorite personal finance bloggers, Baker of Man Vs. Debt, wrote a post a while back titled “26 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 26 Years of Living.” One of his life lessons was “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it buys everything else!” I’m sure that he’s not the first person to say this, but his blog was the first place I read it.

Similarly, Gretchen writes:

“…I asked myself, ‘Can money help buy happiness?’ The answer: yes, if used wisely, it can. Whether rich or poor, people make choices about how they spend money, and those choices can boost happiness or undermine it.”

Her thoughts really resonate with me.

I know that there are people out there who have all the money they need (and more) and who are unhappy.

I know that there are people out there who have practically no money at all and who are happy.

Money, by itself, doesn’t buy happiness. But, money doesn’t, by itself, create unhappiness either.

Another quote from The Happiness Project, “If money is to enhance your happiness, it must be used to support aspects of life that themselves bring happiness to you.”

For me, this quote speaks to the core of frugality: spend money (wisely) on the things that are important to you, save money (ruthlessly) on the things that don’t matter to you.

For me, having more money means having greater freedom to to spend time on the things I care about: family, friends, reading, being out in nature, etc. I can do these things now, but not as often as I would like.

As a parting shot, a few of my favorite quotes about money:

    “A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.” ~Jonathan Swift

    “If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy” ~ Proverbs

    “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” ~ Jim Rohn

    “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” ~James W. Frick

    “A penny saved is a penny earned.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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