If you think spending money doesn’t buy you happiness then you are spending it on the wrong things. When was the last time you bought yourself a coffee, a glossy magazine or that new top in this seasons must-have fashion colour?
You probably felt good immediately afterwards. A shopping buzz. But I know that feeling didn’t last long. Before you know it you need another latte, you’ve read that magazine (which now it taunts you with advertisements of things you can’t afford.) The top you bought is shoved to the back of the wardrobe, waiting for the right occasion to wear it. Chances are, you might even forget about it in the sea of other items that clutter your wardrobe. By the time you find it again, it’s no longer even in fashion and the tags are still on it. What a waste!
You might think that spending big bucks would make you happy - maybe it’s just you weren’t spending enough! Studies have been shown that most people who win the lottery are actually not happier in the long run. Despite what you may think, they often end up in more debt after spending crazily. They also end up more socially isolated as friends and family, distant cousins and people they met only fleetingly in school all emerge out of the woodwork looking for money.
So what's the solution? Well, if you want to be happy....don’t spend the money on yourself, spend it on others. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Why not treat your colleague to a latte as you buy your own? Give to your local charity? Identify something that someone else needs and get it for them. I’m not talking here about the latest plastic toy for your child. We all have enough of those to fill a landfill! But how about a board game that you could play together as a family?
Increasingly, some of my best memories from the last few weeks are from games of chess with my children. The €10 I spent on a chess set for my son has given him and me much more happiness as it’s given us the gift of time together.
Buying gifts that equal time is a surefire way to feel happy. So maybe buy those tickets for you and a friend to go to the movie. Buy the ice cream for your child whilst you are walking down the pier to make that walk last a little longer. Surprise your partner by taking them out for a spontaneous mid-week drink or meal with you. Spending on others is the best way to feel happy. Spending on others that increases quality time together is even better.
So the next time you open your purse or wallet think ... could I spend this money more wisely? Chances are, you could and a world of happiness and your opportunity will open for you.