Picture this, you have just made your routine morning run to Sheetz to grab a coffee. While the machine is purring and letting a trickle of coffee start to pour your nose smells the aroma and you turn to find something to do instead of watching the brew. You wander over to the scratch-off machine and decide to test your luck; you insert the only bill left in your wallet. You read the display, red in color, which reads 10 00. You push a button which brings the machine to life. You bend over, pick up the slip and walk back to your full cup of coffee. You grab a lid, proceeding to put it on and take a sip. The silky smooth texture satisfies your taste buds and draws a smile on your face. After finding your way to the register you say your hellos and goodbyes, then out the door you go.
With a cup of joe in one hand and the ticket occupying the other you open the door of your outdated Civic. You find yourself seated then proceed to tilt back your head, chin to ceiling, and take an accidentally large sip. In scorching pain, you decide to swallow, burning your throat. Trying to bring up your spirit you begin to scratch off the lottery card, spreading the little silver crumbs everywhere. Your eyes light up. You just won five thousand dollars a week for life.
That sounds great, right? But fast forward five years, two hundred sixty cashed paychecks later, and you are in the biggest slump you have ever been in. You have everything you could ever dream of: a big house, your childhood dream car and a smoking spouse. Even with all of this you do not feel complete. Something is missing. This emptiness is the lack of happiness.
People should be spending their money differently, but also most people operate on the theory that wealth brings happiness. We all know that one person who you looked up to as a child, a mentor of yours. But I am sure that you also could point out someone who always flaunted his wealth, making others around him jealous. This guy always bothered you, but maybe he should not have. But as reported by Belinda Luscombe for TIMES magazine, a recent study shows while happiness may be linked with a particular yearly income, "High incomes don't bring you happiness, but they do bring you a life you think is better." The study shows that the magnitude of your annual income does not have a direct correlation with happiness. For example, there are plenty of people far less wealthy than Bill Gates, who are just as happy with their lives. If you think about it, the filthy rich have a lot more to worry about than the average joe. Running huge corporations can bring a lot of stress and anxiety, characteristics which are not associated with happiness. So when you think of the rich and famous, it is not all sunshine and puppy dogs.
Sunshine and puppy dogs may not be so far away if you do not rely on money to provide you with happiness. A quick and easy way to make yourself happier is by making your money work for you, providing you with a figment of true happiness. Now think back to your most joyful memory. What makes that memory so special to you? Was it a relaxing beach getaway with your loved ones or rather a thrilling experience of attaining the phrase, “I conquered Mount Everest?” For most of you, it was an experience rather than something materialistic. In an article by CNN, a recent study suggests that maybe money can, in a way, purchase happiness. “Research supports the idea that people feel good when they feel they are making an impact with their money in a personal way and a sense of shame when they are stingy,” writes Elizabeth Landau for CNN. This shows that a positive feeling can be achieved by spending your money on others rather than yourself because you are letting your money do greater and better things by either donating that money to charity or paying for a friend rather than using it to get yourself that morning coffee from Dunkin. This also allows the ideology that you should “invest in making memories.” With an experience, you will cherish the memory for longer, bringing happiness for an extended period compared to something materialistic. Make your money work; let it provide you with happiness.
Just to be frank: if you are trying to gain happiness from spending your money, you are probably doing it wrong and if you are not that still is not true happiness. Now let us backtrack to the darkness that hit you upon inserting that ten dollar bill. The very moment your life had changed forever. Your daily routine was filled with stress. Twice a week you would receive death threats or be begged for money by ones you had once known and trusted. You were the kid with the, still wrapped, pack of gum. Your peers begged and, on occasion, even harassed you, leaving you with an empty package. You even let debt pile on, promising those who had not gotten a stick one next time. This is what happened; this was your everyday life. Be grateful for what you have today. Without money life would be very difficult, everyday being a new struggle. But do not let your amount of money in the bank affect your happiness. Live in the moment. So next time when you want to say money sure does buy happiness, think again.