Budgeting for Happiness

Photo by Noah Silliman

One of our life’s many challenges is figuring what brings us joy, and how to reserve our resources for things that matter.

Money and time are finite, so it seems obvious that we would want to spend them well. It isn’t always easy to know how to do this as our busy lives get in the way. One way is to sit down and figure out what you value most and create a budget to achieve them. It’s a process that I describe in an ebook I wrote a few years back called The Happiness Spreadsheet.

I recently spoke with a woman on the verge of retirement who needs a financial plan. She told me that she had discovered my ebook and had been working her way through the exercises, enjoying the process. She had found “money leaks” that are draining her future happiness – clothes, dining out, and kitchen gadgets, for starters. She said that “these are my money equivalent of binge eating” and when stressed, she seeks escape in shopping and dining, rather than keeping her sights on her longer term goals.

I’m sure this sounds like a familiar pattern to many of you – me too! It’s easy to fall back into comfortable habits that relieve stress but don’t get you closer to your most cherished dreams and goals. The same woman told me that “she values the creative process of cooking, and her ideal life includes a beautiful, efficient kitchen.” She knows that to achieve one will require disciplined savings and she is working on that now.

It pays to become mindful about what you want to achieve in life. The concepts in the Happiness Spreadsheet ebook are one way to get you started on the journey, but there are many others. Feel free to share techniques that have worked for you; I know other readers would appreciate it.

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