3 Ways Money Can Buy Happiness

They say “Money can’t buy happiness” and for the most part the research supports this wisdom.  When you get a raise or financial windfall, you are happier for a short time, but you quickly readjust to the same level of happiness you were before you became financially better off.   One of the characteristics that helped humans evolve is the ability to adapt quickly to any new circumstances whether positive or negative.  So we adapt to our new found money and it will take increasingly higher amounts of money to boost our happiness the second and third time.


But there is a way money can buy happiness.  It is found in how we spend the money.  Research has shown that spending money on other people makes us happier than spending it on ourselves.  It creates a virtuous circle where we spend the money on someone else and become happier which makes us want to spend more on someone else which further increases our happiness.  More good news, we don’t have to spend a lot of money on someone else. The amount of money is not as important as choosing someone besides ourselves to spend it on.


4 Ways your money can buy happiness:


  1. Buy coffee for a friend and spend a few minutes talking – you are giving and building positive relationships which give you a double dose of happiness.
  2. Pay for the person in line behind you – random acts of kindness are fun and make us happier.
  3. Donate money to a charity – even small donations make you feel good about giving.
  4. Spend money on experiences like vacations – they create memories that add to your happiness for years to come.  Especially if they include friends and family.
  5. Plan your experiences months in advance.  The anticipation of spending your money on a great experience will provide happiness before the money is even spent.


Small amounts of money spent in the right ways can buy you happiness.   So don’t wait on a financial windfall to be happy.  Find ways today to budget happiness into your current income level.  It is not how much, but how you spend it, that makes you happy.


“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you ice cream and that is almost the same thing.”  Unknown


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

How to get Happy – 4 Concepts connected to Leadership and Success

Over the years I have had the opportunity to study leadership and success.   I am struck by the connections between each area and how those connections are similar for happiness as well.


Your first test on happiness:

  1. Do you want to:
    1. Receive happiness like winning the lottery or receiving a gift?
    2. Experience happiness as a state of mind?

If you choose A, then you may be waiting for a while, possibly forever.  However, if you choose B, then we, the team at, have a lot to share that may be helpful.


Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book The How of Happiness, explained that happiness is created through our daily intentional activities.  This is consistent with Leadership and Success as well.   Happiness is within our ability to control with what we do in our daily lives and how we think.


Here are 4 concepts that will provide a framework for exploring happiness.

The first concept is understanding the difference between Pleasure and Happiness.   Are you chasing immediate pleasures like sex, decadent foods, couch time, and video time, or are you nurturing relationships, maintaining your health through diet and exercise,  finding ways to improve yourself, and being thankful for what is working in your life.  The pursuit of pleasure involves feeling good in the short-term at the possible risk of negative long-term outcomes; the pursuit of happiness consists of intentional activities and habits that promote long term health and well-being.



The second concept is taking control of your life.   George Bernard Shaw although a little gruff, was headed in the right direction when he explained pursuing happiness as, “…being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. “  Do you own your decisions and the consequences of those decisions?  Are you deciding every day to invest in the habits and activities that will lead to happiness or are you waiting and hoping that happiness will find you?


The third concept is cultivating close positive relationships.  Do you have a few close friends you can talk to and share tell about your failures and successes? People who know and appreciate the real you, the good and the bad?  Are you caring and sharing in the community? Is there a person, group, or cause that you care for and give to?  The acts of sharing our true selves with others and caring for others are the most important things we can do to generate happiness and contentment in our lives.


The fourth concept is finding and expressing purpose and meaning.  The full George Bernard Shaw quote is:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.


Do you have something bigger than yourself to focus on?  Is there something bigger that you believe in or something that you know you were meant to do?  For many people this can be expressed in their religion or other spiritual pursuits.  Others may focus on their children or their meaningful contributions.


In summary, if you are choosing to pursue happiness:

  1. Understand the difference between Pleasure and Happiness
  2. Take control of your life and your happiness.
  3. Develop close positive relationships and care for others.
  4. Find and express purpose and meaning in your life.


As described above for happiness, leadership and success require a long term perspective, action and ownership, strong relationships, and a sense of purpose.


Also like Leadership and Success, happiness is not a possession that can be acquired.   It is a state of mind resulting from the cultivation of intentional daily habits.    It has to be pursued, explored, and experienced on an on-going basis.   Find out more about how to cultivate Happiness Habits at

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