We all know the saying “money can’t buy you happiness”. But at some point, most of us have wished we had more money, or thought that having more would make our lives easier.
While you need enough money to meet your basic needs, studies have shown that having more money doesn’t actually make you happier. One study, for example, found that that people who won big on the lottery didn’t end up any happier than those who had bought tickets and didn’t win.
This may be because the lottery winners simply adjusted to this new level of wealth, and then reverted back to their baseline of happiness. Another explanation is that the winners were now comparing themselves to richer neighbours, and so still felt they were coming up short.
Comparison really can be the thief of joy, and comparing your own money situation to others’ can be demotivating. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling a bit rubbish about your money, there are several steps you can take to feel happier with what you’ve got.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
Ask yourself this: who is making you feel like you need more stuff? Maybe it’s influencers on social media; maybe it’s your friends; maybe it’s the neighbour who keeps flaunting their new Porsche.
Try to remove as many triggers as you can - the ‘mute’ function on Instagram is a godsend for this reason. For the triggers you can’t control, try to remind yourself that having that extra thing probably isn’t actually going to make you happier - even if it feels like it.
- Make list of everything you can do for free
A walk in the fresh air, a bath, binge-reading a book, park runs, community events, calling an old friend, YouTube exercise videos…. what else can you do that’s free? If you can get your friends and family on board with these, you’ll have even less of a reason to go out and splash your cash unnecessarily.
- Take back control
Look at your bank account regularly, and always know what’s going on in there - good or bad. This will give you a sense of control over your situation, which psychologists argue is a major contributor to happiness.
Take small steps to take control of your finances depending on your situation. This could be upping your pension contribution, swapping your energy provider, checking your credit score, or speaking to a Financial Advisor - whatever it takes to help you feel in control.
- Practice mindful spending
Every time you want to buy something, ask yourself – ‘Why am I buying this – will it make me happy?’, ‘What could I spend the money on instead?’, ‘Do I have something similar already?’. You might like our 5 top tips for mindful spending.
- Be kind to yourself
You are more than your bank balance. If you over-spend or miss a bill, remember that everyone makes mistakes and try not to label yourself “bad with money”. There’s always time to improve - the best thing you can do is start today.
If you want to take control of your finances and feel happier about your money, try ClearScore’s Coaching programmes. Whatever you want to learn, we’ve got it covered - from finance basics to getting out of debt and improving your credit score.