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Happiness & Money

Want vs. Need

by Lori Daly  |  1595 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

I just finished reading Gretchen Rubin's blog entitled, Eight Tips for How Money CAN Buy You Happiness

Gretchen's blog was very timely and relevant to me because I have been trying to make an active and conscious effort to retrain my brain into being more frugal with my money. Everywhere I look, there are advertisements telling me that I "need" something and not only are the advertisements telling me I "need" it, they are also telling me that even if I do not have the money, I can buy it now and pay for it later. This subliminal suggestion of "need" makes me "want" and at some point, you have to just say STOP! because Corporate America wants my money plus interest! Corporate America wants my future earnings plus interest! Did you hear me? They want money I have not even made yet!

 They want your money too.

Think about it: It is as if we are paying alimony plus interest to Corporate America. Ugh! It has to STOP!!! I will not sign over one more dollar of my future earnings to Corporate America for something I do not need and hope that I can pay up when the time comes. I just will not do it anymore! I want my freedom! I want to decide my financial future and not have it decided for me.

As I am getting older and making an effort to save money for retirement, as well as for my son's college education, I am becoming increasingly more particular on how I spend my money. I have decided that I want to be fully present in the purchases I make and always weigh them against what I could do with the money instead, if it was sitting in the bank. For example, instead of buying that new pair of jeans that I have been pining for, if I saved the money, I would be able to put that money towards a plane ticket to visit family and friends. If every time I stopped myself from purchasing something I didn't need, I would have a lot of money saved for more important things that I truly want.

Also, by not spending so much of my money on things I do not need, I won't have to work so hard, which allows a lot more free time to spend with my family. This attitude is one shared by many people my age. For example, in an article by Patricia Wen on Gen X Dads, James Chung, who runs a Boston-based company called Reach Advisors, advises companies on how to market their products to various demographic groups. He urges clients to shake the image of ambitious couples trying to earn enough to install Jacuzzis and book their next Caribbean vacation. In his national survey of 3,000 parents between their mid-20s and late 50s, he finds Generation X couples are far more willing to sacrifice money for family time.





2 comments so far...

  • The funny thing about money and happiness, is that if you have no money (true poverty), you end up under an extraordinary amount of stress and having money relieves that stress, thus bringing you some happiness.

    Beyond that, you're right. Being in control of how we choose to spend and not playing the "keeping up with the joneses" game can be a very empowered way to live.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Trudi Evans on 31st July 2007

  • Lori, I am so glad you wrote about this topic. I was reading Gretchen's blog post at the Huffington Post yesterday and made a note for myself to address this issue on Work It, Mom! - which you did in a great way. As I've written about before on the Work It, Mom! Blog my husband and I "downgraded" our spending significantly in order for me to be able to start this company. We even moved to a different city that was more affordable and had good public schools, which reduced our cost of living. Because I was the breadwinner who gave up a high paying job, we live on a a LOT less now and you know what? We're no less happier. And because I am doing something I love for work (vs what I was doing before, which was just for money), my life satisfaction is higher. So all the research is proving out itself in my day-to-day life, it seems.

    Thanks for raising this issue - and I am sure we'll keep talking about it here!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 31st July 2007

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