by Harvey Bond
The economic problems of recent years have a lot of people rethinking how they spend their money. Generally, cutting back is high on the list. But pinching pennies is not the only way to spend more wisely.
By thinking about what you’re really buying and going for what matters, you can make your money go further in terms of happiness and life satisfaction. Here are some things to know:
1) Buy experiences, not things!
Happiness studies show that people are more satisfied with money spent creating memories, as in a family vacation, than on things like a new kitchen. People quickly get used to the new kitchen and fail to notice it, but they talk about their adventures for years to come.
Keep in mind that memories don’t come only from exotic vacations, though. A trip to a local restaurant can do it. In fact memories can even be had for free, via a hike in the woods or a concert in the part.
2) Money spent on improving relationships is worth every cent!
Ultimately, studies show that the quality of people’s relationships has the greatest effect on their personal happiness level. If you and your spouse are constantly fighting over whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, a house cleaner may be a worthwhile investment.
If you’re constantly screaming at your children because you never get a break, the money spent on a babysitter will pay dividends for years to come. And if the stuff itself is causing stress, dump it. Life is sweeter with less clutter.
3) Money that buys time is usually money well spent!
If you’re commuting two hours to work every day, the smaller house that costs more but reduces your commute by an hour and a half is worth every penny. The wood floor that takes seconds to sweep and always looks great is worth the cost of replacing your white carpeting. The software that makes managing your finances a breeze, the automatic bill pay plans-anything that reduces the hassle factor is usually a good investment.
4) Lifestyle is NOT the most important thing!
Unless they’re time and labor saving devices or necessary items, things nearly always disappoint. After a few years, the McMansion is just another house. costs a fortune to heat and is a pain to clean. The new furniture looks dingy, the designer clothes are out of style, and the new car is a lemon. Think very hard before you drop a bundle on stuff, if you have to have a status symbol go for a classic that does not age!