I know you’ve heard it…money doesn’t buy happiness. Well lets really think about it. For most of mine and my husbands relationship we’ve had money problems. Always living paycheck to paycheck. Never had money to go on vacations or even weekend getaways. I think we’ve been out of town on a mini vacation a few times in 10 years. We’ve always had a roof over our heads and food on the table but not much else. It’s caused quite a bit of arguments I’ll admit.
STRESS!!! Money problems cause stress and if it doesn’t, then you’re not normal! It depresses you, you can’t do much of anything because everything costs so damn much! Jason has ALWAYS worked his butt off to stay above water and I’m forever grateful for that. For the first time in 10 years we’re not only above the water but we’re walking on water, okay maybe not walking on water but we’re definitely wadding pretty comfortable!!! In fact just the other night at softball Jason and I were sitting in the bar waiting for our appetizers and I looked at him and simply said, “I’m happy!!!” His humorous comment back was, ” about time!!”.
But seriously for the first time we are doing things the right way. No more $500 a month car payment for a car we don’t really need. We now have 2 decent cars and no car loan…WOOHOO!!! We downsized on our house, well actually we went up in size and down in price…another brilliant move on our part!! Maybe even enjoy a real vacation!!!
It’s taken a long time to get where we are right now and in it’s still a work in progress, but the amount of stress that has been taken off of us is incredible. We are happier as a married couple. I’m happier as a women who likes an occasional new dress. The best part of it all is we now not only have money to spend on fun things but we have money to SAVE!!! I find myself saying “oh we don’t really need that”, which is not like me. I’ll find myself putting a lot of things back. I’ve gotten so much better about money that Jason can’t believe it!! I could live in a cardboard box and as long as I had my family, I’d be okay, but don’t expect a smile to be plastered across my face. Who would be happy to have a life like that?
Let me ask you a question, take away all your money, just have enough to “get by” and tell me how happy you would REALLY be? If you can honestly say you’d be just as happy then I guess you are a better person than I. Can money buy love?… I don’t think so. Can money buy happiness?…I’m starting to wonder…if you already have a great family, it certainly makes it a hell of a lot easier to enjoy life!!
Nikki, you are doing things so smart. Im proud of you. You have realized what millions of Americans never will. How to live within your means. Good for you.
Money has never been an issue in my life since I have been an adult. I had an executive career from the moment I started working (I know Im unusual).
But guess what. Money doesn’t buy your health back. If you have health, and you have your family, the rest you can learn.
I live amongst what you all would consider the Uber wealthy of this world. We all vacation all over the world. Most of us have multiple homes etc. Guess how many in my circle are happy? Guess how many have problems with cheating husbands.. not because the men are unhappy – simply because they can! Money creates its own set of issues. You can have it, but keeping it is always the deal.
For me, I don’t buy ANYTHING that isn’t on sale. I shop for the best deal for absolutely everything. I can’t stand paying full price. Why should they get my money? What if one day I need it for something important. The money I save, gives me the ability to help others too.
So no, I don’t have to buy furniture off of craigslist. I don’t have to buy second hand nearly new cars. But I choose to. I don’t buy any item of clothes that I will not wear. I don’t buy extra lotions and potions just because and so they sit in my drawer going bad. I don’t hoard.
Simple tips… a streamlined life…. happier and mentally healthier all along the way.
Good for you honey!
Well, I look at it this way. Being out of debt feels a lot better than being in debt. And having a nest egg feels a lot better than living paycheck to paycheck. If we could all live in the moment like the Buddha suggested, we’d be OK with debt because after all, debt doesn’t have to be paid off today, it’s a concern for tomorrow. But, so far I haven’t met anyone who can really “live in the moment” – except some folks who already have their “house in order.”
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the third kid in a family of eight. My parents were lower working class high school dropouts (though they went back to school while I was growing up). My dad is severely dyslexic. Naturally, I grew up with an attitude of scarcity. When I went to college at 16, I started taking out student loans, and by the time I was done with grad school, I owed $85K plus interest (it was up to 12% in those days). This freaked me out. After graduating, I was making $31K per year, netting maybe $20K, and paying $13K in student loans. My dad gave me an old clunker to drive to work in, but it got totaled and I had to buy a car with a payment of $3K per year. I shared an apartment and my half of the rent was over $3K per year. OK, so what does that leave for food, gas, clothes, etc? Because of my family history, I knew how to live a simple life, but I still made some mistakes. I ended up with a little credit card debt, and I made a mistake with my payment dates and ended up with late fees and an increased interest rate. It may not sound like a big deal, but when you are truly living on the edge, there’s no room for a $50 stupidity penalty. It’s funny how I still remember those $50 penalties 13 years later, even though a $50 expense today wouldn’t faze me.
I bought a house with two other investors. Pretty soon the debt listed on my credit report totaled over $200K. By then I was earning $40K (gross) and paying $12K in student loans. So, a little better. I remained very frugal, though I started giving my family money. But that debt hanging over my head was making me crazy. I was in a bad mood all the time. I was bitchy and constantly afraid of what would happen if I lost my new job. I mentioned it to my mom, and she said, “you might as well get used to it, you will never be out of debt.” Well, that sounded too horrible and I refused to accept it. I tightened my belt another notch and accelerated my student loan payments. Next I paid off my car and my house. I became debt free.
I had gotten so good at saving money, it had become a hobby, or maybe even an addiction. I didn’t stop; if anything, I got cheaper. I doubled the money to my family and started putting every penny I could into my 401K. The goal was to save up enough money to be able to retire and live off my savings. I pretty much reached that point . . . and then I adopted two kids who will now lay claim on a fair chunk of my savings. And now my house needs repairs. So the cycle really never ends. I still can’t stand to spend money on frivolities, although I can be talked into the idea that a nice massage and facial are valid investments in my physical and mental health.
I’m definitely a happier person now that I don’t have money “worries.” But is it really the money that makes me happier, or the simple lifestyle I choose? I think it’s both. The money gives me the freedom to say “take this job and shove it,” which is comforting even if I never actually quit my job. The simple lifestyle gives me the confidence that even if I quit and never went back to work, I could live for quite a few years just on my severance pay, then pension, then social security. (As for the girls, they would have to get a job . . . .)
I agree with you completely, Money cant buy you happiness or love, well perhaps it can rent it for a few hours but those things take way more then pure cash to fuel in the long term. However it does indeed make life easier if you dont have to worry about working your life away to make ends meet. Then again if you have too much money, perhaps millions, billions in excess that makes new problems too, imo I’d still rather have too much than too little tho 🙂
Amber- Thanks, we’re pretty proud of ourselves too. And yes for the first time we have the money and I DON’T want to spend it. Like you said I can I just don’t want to. And I’m the queen of clearance shopping!!
SKL- we’ve never really been in debt it’s always been the week to week crap. I mean having a mortgage is a debt in itself but a debt worth having. I’m much happier because we just don’t have to worry about when the next paycheck will come and that’s nice.
I think the “stuff” money can buy can’t make you happy. You end up just wanting more, or competing with the “Joneses.” I do think that being self-reliant and having enough money to meet your needs and any emergency costs that arise can bring peace of mind. There is something satisfying about managing money wisely.
Absolutely kweenmama, It just sucks it took 10 years to get $ smart. Oh well we were so young when we got together, we didn’t know what we were doing!!!
I think when we are young, most of us have gone through money problems. Part of it is from just not knowing what to do and buying and “getting” what we think we want/need. I have been in hard times, 3 times in my life that were pretty hard. I honestly feel that money problems led to my first marriage failing. We didn’t want the same things. I needed security and wanted the “white picket fence” and my then husband just wanted to play. His not caring drove a huge wedge between us because had it not been for my parents, I would have gone hungry more than I did. There were times all I had to eat was a potato and had to scrape penny’s, nickels and dimes together to just be able to feed Jason a can of spaghettio’s from the quick mart across the road. Never mind “real” grocery shopping. It was pretty much the hardest time I’ve ever had. It wasn’t a case of “things” I wanted but we didn’t have money to live. I was doing daycare for 3 kids and trying to feed Jason off that but the other half said he was paying bills but it turned out he wasn’t and we had to leave our apartment in the middle of the night because we owed everyone money and I didn’t know. It was something that still humiliates me. I lost a lot of “stuff” because we had to hurry out like theives. Family picuters mostly and that hurts all the more so I try not to rehash it. It’s been almost 30 years.
Paul and I had to start all over too 15 years ago but we both wanted the same things and were grown up. We could have thrown in the towel but we didn’t. We had to downsize our house too but it wasn’t really a choice to us. We wanted out of the city and our house was taking all our money. I worked two jobs and Jason and Toby were both working and we came out of it alive and kicking and more than better off.
You have to do all you can. You have to save for those rainy days and living payday to payday is just plain dangerous and you can’t spend money you aren’t holding in your hand. I wish everyone would know that. I wish I’d been smarter money wise. I think you have to work together and do all you can.
In all my “venting” I didn’t answer the question!! Does money make you happy??? YES. Not for buying “things” I want but being able to buy “things” I need to live my life.
I think that money can definitely make you happy. Now, I think you have to have general happiness first. I wouldn’t want to have a shitty husband and a shitty life but be a billionaire. I think it would be very empty no matter how many “things” that I had. However, once you get the general happiness, money can only make things better. Taking nice trips, being able to buy cool things, etc. is fun. It just is, I don’t care who you are, don’t lie.
I don’t think money can make you happy if your not happy to begin with but I do feel that NOT having money can bring you lots of problems and hard feelings. My husband and I are both very good with money and we’ve worked really hard to save ours. We both went to school and paid off our loans before we built our home. Yes, we were lucky and got a pretty big inheritance but we used it wisely and still have a nest egg from that. We also have invested money for our son and soon to be daughter. We also have a new home and have remodeled our barns and out buildings.
So, I am young and have not seen a lot of hardship that comes from over spending but I do feel you have to have some smarts about it. You simply can’t spend what you don’t have or even spend what you do have if your goal is x-y-z. We also pay our credit cards off each month. I will not pay interest. People don’t just hand you things and we both work very long hours and really hard to maintain our goals.
I have a very good friend who doesn’t work and seems to think we have it easy. That irritates me to no end because I work hard everyday and she’s made the choice not to so it’s not my fault she’s always broke. I also find her very frivolous because she’s always buying things she can’t afford, like clothes or shoes or purses when she never even goes anywhere because she can’t afford it and then acts so “we have no money” all the time. What is she not seeing????
Jane, I agree with you. I used to have people tell me “it must be nice” because I had some money put aside and could afford some things like an international trip. Like I should feel bad because I had something they didn’t. Hey, I worked my butt off and watched every penny to get where I am. While you were feeding your vices instead of getting an education. So after a while I answered back, “yeah, it IS nice, and it should be because I worked hard for it.” That shut them up. (These same people scoff at me for keeping long work hours.)