Can Money Buy Happiness? Experts Say Yes – If Used Wisely

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If you’ve ever wondered ‘Can money buy happiness?’, you’re not alone.

That’s not just because you’re reading a blog formerly called Money Can Buy Me Happiness (rebranded to Mumsmoney in 2019). 

When I started this blog, I had some criticism. One person told me she associates the name of my site with the desire to “accumulate more and more money before I can be happy”.

I was a little hurt by this, but I respect her opinion. It warrants further thought.

I feel like the luckiest person alive. I live 50 metres from the beach in Spain. I spend lots of time with my son and husband.

This past year, we have been able to travel with family members on three separate occasions.

Wanna know what makes me happy? Spending the European summer with family in Ireland, knowing there are snowstorms at home.

Seeing my son create memories with cousins who live on the opposite side of the world from us.

I hear him whisper “Hola, perro” to every dog we pass on the street in Spain.

Money has enabled us to slow travel across seven countries over the past ten months.

Money is paying for us to stay here in Spain for an extended period.

Snow - in December! What a novelty.
Snow – in December! What a novelty for us antipodeans.

A friend recently told me I was living the dream. She was right.

And yet I come from an area where poverty is the norm.

I grew up in a hard-working family with parents who gave me all they could, but I always knew that only I was capable of changing my future.

So what’s in this name?

I believe mastering money can give you the freedom to spend your time how you wish.

That is the key message in everything I write.

I know that my life would be pretty miserable had I not figured out how to get out of debt and save for the future.

The simple truth is the average person can buy stuff, or they can buy time. They can’t have both.

If you spend your money on shoes, nice clothes and car payments, that’s your choice.

You just have to accept the consequences of those choices – that you will likely need to work for a very long time to pay for your choices.

Me – I’m using my money to secure my future as a young retiree who can travel the world with her family.

In the meantime, I’ll be driving an ugly, 23-year-old car that I paid for with cash and re-purposing the boxes full of clothes I have accumulated over a lifetime.

Can Money Really Buy Happiness? The Experts Say Yes.

It’s been proven that money spent on experiences contributes to increased feelings of fulfilment in life.

Rather than the one-off hit of a material purchase, money spent on experiences can have a longer-lasting effect on one’s happiness.

Research published in the journal Psychological Science by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology shows that the anticipation of an experience such as travelling brings more joy than the anticipation of making a material purchase.

I know that I enjoy planning a trip almost as much as I enjoy taking one.

This excellent TED talk shows money spent on others brings much more joy than money spent on oneself.

Use your money to do the things you have always dreamed of doing. Give generously to others. Your life will be richer for it.

This article was written in 2015.

About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Stuff, NZHerald, Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.