I’m sure you have at least once seen or heard this saying : “Money can’t buy happiness”. Well, it seems wise, but not adequate.
I would say, money can buy not every kind of happiness, but some, or even many happy feelings. The better thing to say is: it all depends on how you spend it, and on the context as well.
Recently I have a friend coming back to Vietnam just to spend 2 weeks with her family. She spends a lot on the flight ticket, which is equal to what we normally spend for a 3 month stay. She is having a great time with her parents and her little sister at home now, and this happiness can’t be sought from anywhere but her house. What she bought is the flight that brought her back to her beloved family. I know many people who haven’t seen their families for years because they can’t afford a flight back home. Things would be different if they have more money, right?
Maybe money is not everything. But we always see everyone chasing after well-paid jobs, companies looking ways to have more and more profits. Even we as students are going to uni because we want to secure a good job, which will help us to live a good house, drive in a good car and eat in good restaurants in the future. Money does a lot for us. We understand that, but we tend to go to great lengths to get more money , forgetting about its purpose: using money in a way that actually brings us happiness.
The best way of using money to buy happiness is here: buy experiences, especially with the people who matter to you most. The more money you have, the more experiences you can buy, and therefore the happier you will be.
What my friend bought was physically a flight ticket, but it allowed her to meet her family, which was a great experience.
A businessman I know spends some time on staying at home with his kids rather than meeting his clients. You may say money doesn’t involve here. But, look, he forgoes the money that he can earn from his business to get some time with his family. Isn’t he using the money he should have earned to buy that happiness?
(By this picture I mean money buys the means to get happiness)
It will be endless to talk about the wonders of money being used in the right way. You can buy a good car, but you won’t feel the true happiness until you pack up and go on a picnic with your family by that car. You can buy a great smart phone, but you won’t feel the true happiness until you use it to keep in touch with an old friend from the other side of the world. You can buy a nice house, but you won’t feel the true happiness until you open the door inviting your friends to visit you for a dinner and hear them complimenting how beautiful it is. The bottom line is, just use money for the people and things you care.
There are heaps of ways to buy happiness. Here are just a few that I got from an article:
1. Buy Time
2. Buy Experiences
3. Buy Quality
4. Buy Knowledge
5. Invest in Yourself and Others
6. Bring People Together
7. Buy Good Health
8. Buy Now, Enjoy Later
9. Appreciate Simple Pleasures
Well, it all comes down to experiences I suppose. But this list gives us a more specific direction on how to leverage our money and get more happiness.
I will end this blog with a great story:
A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.
SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?” replied the man.
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make Rs.100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow Rs.50?”
The father was furious, “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that Rs.50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door. “Are you asleep, son?” He asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.
“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the Rs.50 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” He yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.
“Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Daddy, I have Rs. 100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?
Please come home early tomorrow I would like to have dinner with you”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he
begged for his forgiveness.
This is a short reminder that it is good to earn money to buy happiness. Money absolutely buys happiness. But focusing too much on earning money takes us away from simple happiness in life. So, earn money, but more importantly: SPEND it.
The father in the above story can spend money to buy happiness by forgoing his pay, coming home an hour earlier to have dinner with his son. Restraining from earning more money is just another way to spend it as well.