They say money can’t buy happiness? But are “they” right. Studies have been done on poorer countries to survey their level of happiness compared to richer countries. The rich aren’t any happier apparently. They have songs about people that feverishly save money all their lives and then die before they spend it. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? Doesn’t sound like a happy way to live to me.
This month’s task in the Happiness Project is to Buy Some Happiness… or specifically this week to Splurge a Little. Now before you rush out with your credit card and go on a shopping spree, hear me out. I’m always an advocate of living within your means and paying with cash wherever possible. If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it. I’m talking cash splurge here.
I made the decision to move to Texas almost a decade ago now. It was a cross country move since I needed a change and wanted to live in a new place. It was right at the beginning of the whole dotcom bust and I knew that my company was going under so I was trying to get here first to work out of their Dallas office. It’s a lot easier to find a job when you already live in the place you’re looking.
I managed to move and work another 6 months before the company closed its doors. Since I had thankfully planned for it, I had savings ready to be tapped. The only problem was that I didn’t know how long unemployment would last and if it would outlast my savings. Combine that realization with a Type A personality. As a result, I tightened the purse strings tighter than a triple layer of spanx on Adele. 😉
I split happy meals with The Kid. I cut all unnecessary expenses and began doing everything myself. I cried the first time I mowed the lawn because I was afraid I’d lose a limb. No lie. If we didn’t have a coupon for it, we didn’t do it or buy it. I wish I’d been able to actually relax and enjoy those days of not working instead of focusing so much on how to not spend money. Of course I learned a lot of really good monetary habits that I use to this day but thankfully I don’t have to be that extreme anymore.
So maybe money doesn’t buy happiness but spending a little of it every now and then on a small splurge sure does. Have you ever seen your child’s face light up when you pick her up and go for impromptu ice cream cones after school? Or you buy something you’ve had your eye on and end up smiling all evening. There’s just something about the unexpected little something that brings about a big smile.
I read a while back that sales of lipstick and nail polish goes up when there are economic downturns here in the US. It’s funny how we sometimes turn to a little splash of inexpensive color to improve our moods. Your task this week is to spend a little on something that will make you smile. It doesn’t have to be anything huge but make it something you don’t already buy yourself daily. A latte does not count.
It doesn’t even have to be a splurge for you if you don’t want. Surprise someone close to you with something they wanted. It can be something you do instead of a thing you buy. Just a little splurge is all it takes and see how you feel afterwards.
What are you going to buy? (And oh heck yes, a cupcake splurge would definitely buy my happiness!)