Book Recommendation: Happy Money

This is a gem of a book which I was lucky enough to have purchased as a hard copy so I can force this onto every single one of my friends.


It`s about why it isn`t the amount of money you own that can buy you happiness but the way you spend it.

1. Buy experiences rather than material goods

Apparently, the most expensive item we buy in our lives, a home, does not make us any happier, while buying experiences such as socialising with friends or going on holidays does.

Makes total sense when I see the direct comparison, but personally, it`s an area I struggle with. To me, having my own home means security (I can`t be evicted, and if I`m ever in need, it`s an asset I can sell), and security is an experience which I value extremely highly. My dad however said they can take your home but but not the memories of your holidays.

2. Make it a Treat

Don`t buy the best things all the time, so you don`t get used to and stop appreciating them.

This one also makes total sense, but as so many, I often fail putting them into practice. Food items in particular are so affordable that it`s much too easy to, for example, have a bar of chocolate or a latte on our way to work every day. It stopped being a treat many, many moons ago, there may even come a sense of entitlement and then, when we have to let them go (i.e. a weight loss regime, or closure of the coffee shop) we sulk.

Or take holidays – so much more exciting for someone who hasn`t been for years than it is for someone who is used to getting away twice a year.

3. Buy Time

It`s okay to take a lesser salary if you can work closer to home and spend more time with your family. It`s usually not worth it to take a better paid job if you have to spend three hours to get there. And although it is, at least in my circle, regarded as snobbish, it`s also okay to hire a cleaner if you would find it hard to make the time to do your chores yourself, or if you simply detest housework.

4. Pay first, Consume Later

It`s so easy nowadays to consume immediately and put it on a card to pay later, but personally, II ever fflt comfortable with this.

There is also a lot to be said about delayed gratification. Apparently a nice holiday or Christmas (for most) gives much more pleasure while we are anticipating it than it does after it happened, while we remember . 

Also, if you pay for something in advance, when it finally comes, it will almost feel like a freebie. Think holiday paid at the time of booking rather than at the time of going, or a mobile phone bought outright rather than in installments via contract.

5. Invest in Others

Giving makes happy, be it time or be it money. Research shows that shopping was a much happier experience when people were given money to purchase something for someone else rather than treating themselves.

However, giving needs to be voluntary, e.g. charity donations rather than tax raises, or spontaneous gift giving rather than dutifully fulfilling expectations on certain calendar days.


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