Money can’t buy happiness. At least, that’s what you’ve heard. But I beg to differ. Although, to be completely fair, the following “ways” money can buy happiness aren’t about the money at all. Rather it’s about using your resources and time to improve yourself, build relationships and help others. Here are three tips on how money can “buy” happiness.
1. Give it to someone
– Studies have shown that those who give — whether it’s money, time, or even blood — tend to be more successful. The science behind it is simple: Giving makes you happy. And happier people tend to be more productive and, therefore, more successful. Some of my most treasured experiences of my life are from the times I spent in developing countries helping others. Those experiences completely changed my perspective and goals in life for the better.
As a family, giving together can even synergize that happiness; making for a bonding experience that can bless your relationships and provide a common experience of doing good. I don’t remember many Christmas gifts I received growing up, but I do remember the joy and connection I felt while giving presents to other families in need.
2. Instead of buying things, buy experiences
– I had a professor who told us that he and his wife stopped buying Christmas gifts for his children. He noticed that gifts he had given in the past were generally tossed aside or forgotten within a few weeks. Instead, they saved that money and went on mini-vacations thus giving his children a fun experience they will always remember.
Doing this also strengthens your relationship with those you share the experience with. Daddy daughter dates, a night out at a concert or a special dinner allow you to spend quality time and deepen your relationship. This isn’t to say gifts are useless. There is surely a place for gifts, but too much stuff and a weak relationship can hurt.
3. Invest in your future
– One of the best ways to obtain happiness is to be the person you want to be. When it comes to finances, your ability to earn income is your greatest asset. Therefore, it’s important to invest in education, whether formal or informal. When it comes to your physical shape, invest the time, and even a little money here and there, to get yourself in shape. The same goes for your emotional, mental and spiritual life. If you do not invest in yourself, no matter what happens to you in your life, the happiness is likely not going to last because you can’t ignore yourself for too long.
By investing in yourself, you are able to better your own situation as well as be a better influence in the lives of others. I read the story of a young man who wanted to become a social worker. When he was applying for college admission, his father suggested he apply for the Harvard Business School, instead. His son replied in anger that he wanted to help people and that all his dad cared about was money. His father’s reply was full of wisdom and changed his son’s life:
“All the love in the world and $500,000 can build a church.”
So, it is true that money itself cannot buy happiness. We’ve learned from scripture that the love of money is the root of all evil. But I echo the father’s response to his inexperienced son: All the love in the world and a little bit of money can bring happiness to you, your loved ones and even people you don’t know.
Ben lives with his wife, Kilee, and dog, Paisley, in Arkansas. He has a passion for personal finance, sports, and learning. Ben recently started a blog at www.wealthgospel.com where you can find more of his opinions on personal finance. His life goals are to write about personal finance all day and start a non-profit organization to help others become self-reliant and to find their true potential. On any given day, you could find him eating homemade salsa, picking blackberries, or staying up until 3 a.m. to finish a book.