Find happiness without getting into debt

Who doesn’t dream of having a beautiful house… what about a big raise or a brand-new car? But does having more material things make us happier?

A behavioral psychology study found that more money is not the key to happiness. The study revealed that high incomes may bring greater life satisfaction, but not happiness.

According to a study conducted by Princeton University researchers Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, people experience more stability and well-being as their income rises. However, the study found that when a person’s income reaches $75,000, the everyday emotional quality of their life doesn’t increase.

The study suggests that even though individuals may have high incomes, their overall happiness is diminished by personality issues or external circumstances.

Other studies also show that financial satisfaction is not as rewarding as emotional achievements.

For instance, Joseph Chancellor and Sonja Lyubomirsky, scholars from the University of California, argued that constant desire of obtaining money and possessions produce short positive emotions that fade quickly.

For example, if you remodel your house you’ll stay inside as much as you can to enjoy the new furniture and décor, but once you get used to it, you’ll lose the attraction and the excitement will fade. On the other hand, achievements that have an emotional meaning, such as getting married or graduating from college, remain in our conscious for long periods of time.

Here are some tips to feel happier without spending too much money:

1)      Money is not everything: Repeat this sentence to yourself every time you feel stressed about money. Money comes and goes; family and friends stay with us forever. Instead of focusing on spending money, put all your energy on other activities that involve friends and family. For example, if you are short of money one day, get coffee with friends instead of going shopping. Another excellent idea is to go for a bike ride with your children.

2)      Don’t compare yourself with other people: You are always going to be poor compared to other people. That’s why you need to stop comparing your salary with other people’s salaries. You can’t compare apples and oranges; in the same way you can’t compare yourself with your friends, who may have completely different backgrounds and experiences. A healthier comparison would be to look at yourself this year compared with five years ago. Then, you can ask yourself the following questions: Have I improved economically? What about emotionally? Do I feel better than before? What can I improve in the future?

3)      Keep your priorities real: It’s important that when you set your priorities, you try to reach real goals that can be accomplished. For example, if you have $3,000 in your savings account, don’t plan on buying a house this year. Instead, plan to take a short vacation. You don’t have to abandon your initial plan, but set that goal for the upcoming years.

4) Don’t let debt ruin your life: It’s very easy to get a credit card or a loan, but it’s also easy to get into debt fast. You always need to keep track of all your credit card payments. Don’t get more credit cards if you can’t pay the balances that you already have. If you are looking to take out a loan, check all the interest rates before obtaining the loan. Make sure that the interest rates are not going to increase considerably in a few years. Also, if you feel you are having trouble paying your debts, contact Consolidated Credit for advice on how to manage your finances.

Everyday remember to appreciate what you do have!