Monday, March 24, 2014

How do you spend your money?

Last year I wrote a post on the book The Happiness Project. It was one of the most motivating books I'd read in my life and I still think about it often. 

One of the chapters on the book focuses on spending money to "buy happiness." We all know the age old saying, "Money can't buy happiness," and while it is a nice thought in theory, the reality is money can go a long way for ones happiness. 

Gretchen Rubin writes, " People’s biggest worries include financial anxiety, health concerns, job insecurity, and having to do tiring and boring chores. Spent right, money can go a long way to relieving these problems.

Also, if spent wisely, money can help you boost your happiness. For example, philosophers and scientists agree that having strong ties to other people is the KEY to happiness, and money can pay for a plane ticket to visit your sister, a babysitter for a date night with your sweetheart, or pizza and beer for a Super Bowl Party with friends. Novelty and challenge will make you happier, and money can pay for a trip to France, for a drawing class, for a mountain bike.
Is money essential for developing strong ties to other people or finding ways to challenge yourself? Of course not. But money can make it easier. Some of the best things in life aren’t free."
The thing is, we each develop a relationship with money (healthy or not) that contributes to our happiness. So how do you spend your money to make you happy? Here are some of the things I spend my money on:
1) Getting out of debt: I have to admit, I'm a budget nerd. I have a passion for finances and I'm a Dave Ramsey fan (and every other money saving mogul in the business). We just paid off our 2013 Dodge Caravan in full after just six months and it thrilled me to my core. Thankfully my husband balances us out because if were up to me I would pinch every penny like a miser and we'd never have any fun, but I love putting extra money away for a rainy day. And if that rainy day comes I'll probably just stash more money away. 
2) In spite of my stingy nature, I love buying books: I've tried to curb my addiction since our large bookshelves are currently double stacked. Once in the early days of our marriage I bought about 7 books at Barnes and Nobel in one day and my husband made me chose five to take back. There is no way I'll ever be able to read all the books I own in a lifetime (thanks to the invention of Ebooks, plus my already large stash, I own thousands of books) but they are a comfort to me.
3) Desserts are high on my list: If I'm ever shopping by myself, I usually treat myself to a pastry of some sort. I don't know why this is, but there is something sinfully selfish about a wife and mother enjoying a tasty treat all by herself in secret. I have a huge sweet tooth and I'll be honest, I never like to share food (it's a great fault of mine that I am trying to overcome, especially since I appreciate it so much when others share). It always feels very forbidden and I love a little mystery in my life. (By now you know I'm a huge nerd for spreadsheets and budgeting and the thrill of my life is when I buy a pastry from a bakery so you are probably feeling pretty sorry for me.)
4) Vacations: Now, we don't get to go on vacations as often as I'd like, but I love to spend money for a vacation. Occasionally my husband and I will plan lavish trips that we never go on (our current dream destination is Italy). but eventually our trips will graduate from Southern California Disneyland trips (about four hours away) to across the sea adventures. 
A friend's husband loves buying cars, I have a friend who owns hundreds of pairs of shoes, my husband would purchase computer parts and the top grade technology on the daily if finances allowed it. Several friends take daily trips to the gas station to buy 88 cent cokes. My mother-in-law and her sister take several vacations a year both skiing and to the beach. There is nothing wrong with an occasional splurge... 
So what thrills you? 

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