Know What Makes You Happy to Improve Your Finances

I am a firm believer, from my own experience, that after committing to spend less than you earn, the most important thing that you can do for your finances is to truly understand what is important to you and what makes you happy. I know that at first glance this doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with finances, but I found that before I figured out what was important to me and what made me happy, I spent a lot of money on things trying to achieve these goals without knowing what they really were. Instead, I assumed that what would make me happy were the things that seemed to make other people happy (there is a reason that commercials have a lot of happy people in them).

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5 Responses to Know What Makes You Happy to Improve Your Finances

  1. 20 and Engaged says:

    Hmm what makes me happy? Experiences…rich experiences. I love learning. I think if I can learn something new everyday for the rest of my life, I’d be satisfied.

  2. Ash @ 30 Day Sites says:

    This is a fantastic post! Definitely got me thinking. I know traveling and being with my favorite people and doing things with them is what makes me happy. And having the freedom over my time and work to do these things. Freedom and experiences, pretty things are great but I’d rather make them with friends and family to save money and have a great time. Thank you so much for making me think about this! Great way to start off 2011.

  3. MonkeyMama says:

    Yes, I can 100% say we know what makes us happy and we make those priorities in our life. & I find this is a very important element in personal finance. Great post! It seems simple at face value, but putting your time and resources to things you enjoy helps you to better manage finite resources.

    I find that people who don’t understand us will often say, “Well, you can stay home with your kids, but you can’t eat out a lot, go on vacation freely, put more money away for retirement and you can’t have all the latest and greatest gadgets.” Yes, they are observant and these are all true statements. But the thing is I don’t give a flip about ANY of that because I have plenty of time to focus on that which is most important to me – family. I also love my job and could not imagine living life doing work that I didn’t love. (Of course, many others are just jealous of what we have and blind to what we don’t have – of course).

    I think my spouse and I felt a little more uncertain in our choices when were were younger (being different from everyone else raises constant questions from others), but my spouse had a huge medical scare last year and we did a lot of soul searching and life evaluation during that time. I think we both now find it easier than ever to tune out the noise – we know we live life the fullest we can for ourselves and it doesn’t matter if others agree or have different values.

    Our values focus around enjoying the activities that we do (work, etc.), spending time with our loved ones, and spending lots of time with our kids. Making our home a haven is another one. Obviously, our values change with time. Before kids, life was very different, and as they age, we will have to fill in that void with something else. I’d say knowing what makes us happy takes constant re-evaluation through the years.

  4. Chris says:

    I used to be more materialistic and had a 5,200 square foot luxury home with a pool in the backyard and the whole nine yards. I finally decided to part with those things and now live in a smaller home with fewer frills. My little house is paid for, has all of the necessary rooms including a nice kitchen and I get comfort from living a simple lifestyle.

    I have gone through challenging economic times the last two years as a lot of people have. Living a simpler debt free lifestyle is part of my happiness and I look forward to living in a tropical place for retirement which I think will make me very happy!

  5. Ralph says:

    If It Makes You Happy… – I love that song.

    Yes, I think I know what makes me happy, and a lot of it is learning, and most of all connecting things I have learned. Also I love NOT spending money, so a lot of my quandary and reason to be here is that you have to spend a lot of money when you have a family, so that is my conflict. I know a lot of my problems with money were an inability or unwillingness to keep the expense lid on. No one wants to be the bad guy, especially on a consistent decades long basis. But at least it is good that I enjoy frugality. Without that going for me I’d be completely broke.

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