Can Money Buy You Happiness? Maximizing Joy With Budgeting


Can money buy you happiness? That is an age-old question asked and answered by everyone. If you ask this question to your older relatives and your friends, then you’ll likely find their answers to be very different. And you can see why: everyone’s relationship with money can depend on many factors, including their lifestyle, age, and even culture.

“Many people mistakenly believe that if they just had more money, all their stress would disappear and they’d be blissfully happy.” –Bahareh Talei, Psy.D.

Answering this question isn’t easy. But there are simple things that you can do now to make sure that your hard-earned money can reward you with maximum happiness. All you have to do is to remember these three numbers: 50-30-20.


Setting Aside The Essentials

Who doesn’t want a new pair of shoes or a delicious meal at a fancy restaurant? We all do! But before you spend your paycheck on a shopping spree or a food trip with friends, you must know your priorities first.

We should start with the essentials: rent, utilities, groceries, and others. You might find this part dull, but these are the stuff you definitely cannot forget about. No one wants to get their lights cut off or get kicked out by the landlord.

“if you’re under significant financial strain, it’s associated with depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, and a sense of loss of personal control.”  Brad Klontz, PsyD said. List down all the essentials and sum it up to get your total. You’ll find that you need to allocate around 50% of your income on this. That sounds like quite a lot, but trust me: things will get better from here.

How To Spend On The Things You Love Guilt-Free

Now that you’ve made sure that you’ve set aside enough for your day-to-day expenses, it’s time to get to the best part: guilt-free spending! Set aside 30% of your income. You can use this to spend on the things that bring you happiness. It can be going to the movies, eating out with friends, and getting you that new pair of shoes (YAS!).

List down the stuff that you like the most. If you’re the sort of person who loves shopping for new clothes, then set aside more of the 30% for that. If you’re someone who likes traveling and going out of town, then devote more on that one and spend less on others.

Remember that 30% can be a pretty small amount, so knowing your priorities can help maximize it and make sure you waste less. If you have a magazine subscription you no longer read or spend a lot of fast food when you can cook cheaper, healthier food at home, then maybe it’s time to let them go. We can learn something from best-selling author and Netflix star Marie Kondo, “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.”



Investing For Your Future

Being able to set aside money now to be ready for the future is a crucial part of any budgeting plan. The remaining 20% should go into any future goal, be it a vacation, a new car, or your dream wedding. These goals can be expensive, but saving up bit by bit can make it attainable. Note that “Learning to cope with financial stress and effectively manage your financial situation can help you feel more in control of your life, reduce your stress, and build a more secure future.” Elizabeth Scott, MS, a wellness coach explains.

A portion of that percentage should also go to preparing for any unforeseen expenses. The money you save now can save you headaches from future emergencies.

Whether money can buy you happiness or not, you can be confident that you can make the most out of this simple 50-30-20 budgeting plan. Take control of your expenses, spend on the things you love, and have peace of mind all without breaking a sweat.

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