Can too much of a good thing cause an overload? Are we really happier when we get everything we want all of the time, at least when it comes to money? Studies suggest that there is a point at which we reach the peak of happiness; anything over that does not contribute.
The Right Income
Experts have now named $75,000, or three times the poverty level, as the optimal salary for a comfortable happy living. They say that anything over this amount does not make us happier or more satisfied.
Why? Because when you can have anything you want, you don’t want it as much. It’s easier to take something for granted if you know you can have it at any time.
If you follow Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in regards to your money, you know that your basic needs must be met before you can experience happiness. This includes food and shelter, and some left over for other expenses or purchases. Once you reach this point, having more won’t make you any happier.
Spending Your Money
Part of being happy with the money you have is about how you spend your discretionary income. While it may be true that money can’t buy happiness, certain use of it will contribute to the emotion more than others. A research paper has been written from the study on income that details some effects money has on us, and what makes us happier when we spend it.
-Buy experiences rather than physical goods. The memories from an experience will last far longer than anything you can buy.
-Use your money for the good of others. Contribute to a charity or help someone in need.
-Buy more small things instead of one big thing. Small treats that don’t cost much actually bring us more enjoyment than one large purchase.
-Wait for your purchase. Take time to choose your item, and you will enjoy it more when you get it.
-When you buy a large item, consider all of the details. It’s those details that will make you enjoy (or regret) a purchase as much as the overall item.
-Go with the crowd. It’s actually better to follow others on purchases than go your own route most of the time.
-Don’t focus on comparison shopping. The price will rarely lead to happiness in the item; instead, the quality is what will please you about it.
-Don’t buy insurance. Experts suggest that adding extended warranties or insurance policies to an item actually diminishes our enjoyment of it.
While money can’t buy happiness, it is a contributing factor. More than that, how we choose to spend that money can influence our ability to enjoy what we purchase. By paying more attention to what we buy, we can learn what truly makes us happy, and that will lead us to make better purchasing decisions in the future.
Is Moderation the Key to Happiness in Money?