frugal

Can money buy you happiness?

In this article, I will tackle the age-old question. Can money buy you happiness?

TLDR

  • Money can buy you some happiness
  • True happiness still comes from within
  • Find your own passion
  • Appreciate the time spent with your loved ones

Why do people say money can’t buy happiness?

There are several arguments as to why money can buy happiness. This is why this question never gets old, and you will always see new articles pop up once in a while.

For the naysayers that believe money can buy happiness, they will cite the reasons below.

Healthcare

Firstly, money can purchase better healthcare. Using wealth, you can get better diagnostic services and better medical treatment with state-of-the-art technology. There is no need in worrying that you cannot afford the medical bills. There is no need to worry that you will have no chance of survival because you lack money.

This is why money can buy better health.

“However, people who get sick are the ones who lead unhealthy busy lifestyles because they are too busy chasing money.”

That can be the case for some people. But it is definitely not the case for all people.

Whatever happens to our health in our lifetime cannot be expected. I learned this lesson when I was in Secondary 3 at the age of 15.

Back then, I could hear clearly with both ears. One day, I was just sitting in class, and suddenly POP. My right ear became partially deaf. I could not longer hear people properly.

At first, I thought it was because of some junk stuck in my ear canal, and I just had to dig it out. To my dismay, it is not. My right ear has gone partially deaf, just like that, all of a sudden.

It took a while for me to adjust. I cried and cried. I could not adapt to it. Up to this day, I am very grateful for my mom’s constant support and encouragement throughout this period of my life. I promise I will repay you in every way possible, mom.

That is how I come to realize our health may not necessarily be a side effect of our lifestyle. I also realized seeing Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists are not cheap and I come to realize the importance of money again.

Nutritious Foods

Money can buy you nutritious foods. You can buy “organic” foods. They are more nutritious.

Right?

No, they do not do anything. Sorry, my organic food believers. Contrary to popular belief, organic is really a marketing strategy for people to purchase the same food at a higher price so that manufacturers can earn a higher profit margin.

Also, there is no such thing is superfoods or detoxing. There really is not. It is all a marketing scam.

Being too caught up in this superfoods thing can make you tunnel vision into only buying “nutritious foods”. This can lead to a severe lack of certain micronutrients. The theory that there are toxins in our body is true to a certain extent. But consuming “detoxifying foods” will not help you. It is the role of our bowel system to take care of the toxins in our bodies.

On the flip side, I believe that one should not chase healthy and superfoods. In fact, you should keep an eye on your daily diet and avoid bad foods. It is much easier to spot unhealthy food than it is to find superfoods to include them in your diet. Not only will this make your lifestyle so much easier, but it will also mean that you get to maintain a healthy lifestyle without spending as much money.

More leisure time

“With more money, I can spend my time not working and doing the things you like.”

In fact, I agree with this statement. I cannot rebut this statement. Yes, you can do what you like and you will never work for another day. But how often does that happen?

How often does everybody get to do that? Not everyone has the privilege or the luxury to start a business venture on their favorite gaming mice and become successful like Razer. It just isn’t easy and requires a starting capital.

This is one of the main reasons why I am chasing financial independence. And I agree with this.

Why do people say money cannot buy happiness?

Usually, people say this because they do not want to be stressed out by money. Money is the root of all evil after all. Money stresses people out. Money makes people feel insecure about themselves.

They say money cannot buy happiness because they want to take it out of the equation. In fact, there have been studies that show that if you earn $75,000 annually, there is no point chasing a higher income. This is because the study reports that any higher income than this benchmark, the participants did not report a higher degree of happiness.

This is definitely true. I agree with this. Spend your money on other people, it will make you happier than spending your money on yourself.

Comes from within

I strongly believe that happiness comes from within. Just a few months back, I would be in the camp that money can and will buy happiness. But after a while, I realized that I do not feel happy because I have more money. I feel happy because I have the capability the spend more time with my loved ones and I can treat them with more unique experiences.

Although this source can be very controversial for some people, I have been a long time fan of Pewdiepie and I really believe in what he says. He is really genuine and he speaks his heart, which is why he is able to garner such a large audience. Recently, he made a video talking about stoicism. I found it really meaningful. He broke away from his usual funny and disruptive self to talk about happiness and how to become happy.

TLDR: Live your life in the present to the fullest, so that you will not regret even if you die tomorrow.

Practice gratitude

Gratitude forms the foundation of my religion, Buddhism. Although I still do not have a habit of practicing gratitude daily, I feel that showing gratitude once in a while can be very beneficial to your mental health.

There is a reason why the monks can live so minimally and yet they are contented with life.

I am not asking you to become a monk. I am just saying that you can adopt some of their positive practices and bring them into your life. After all, there is not harm trying.

Comes from experiences

I believe that happiness does not come from money, it comes from unique experiences.

Some people may argue that money can buy you those experiences. Yes, money can give you the opportunity to create those experiences, such as purchasing expensive concert tickets to see your favorite artiste with your loved ones. However, that is unique.

Doing things together with your loved ones is what makes it unique. It is what you and your family or friends make out of that experience to make it unique and special to you. Such that only you and they have that shared memory together.

My take

This is my version of happiness. It is not what everyone’s version of happiness.

Yes, when you are dirt poor, money will solve LITERALLY all your problems.

However, we are living in a first-world country like Singapore, where the government provides quite a lot of financial aid for the poor. Outside of the really poor 10% in Singapore, the rest of us should not complain. We are able to live comfortably if we do not expect much of our lives.

Spending time with your loved ones

This can range from having small casual chit-chats at home to going to classes together. Circuit breaker is a great time to do so. Make use of this once in a lifetime opportunity to do so.

Work on your own passion

Do what you like. You may not need to make it a job. You don’t need to make money out of it.

It can be just your side hustle. It can even just be a hobby. Doing what you like will drive you forward and keep you going.

Spend money to buy experiences, not things

The value of things degrades as time passes. Look at how the iPhone X is now priced at $600 as compared to $1,000 when it was released. This shows that the public’s perception of things degrades over time.

What makes you think when you buy something, its value will not degrade over time?

Yes, buying the iPhone XS Max will provide you with more happiness as compared to buying the iPhone SE. However, happiness is only short-term. If you do not believe me, you can always try it out yourself.

Go buy yourself a meal. Something organic, something exotic, something expensive you always wanted to try. It sounds better than the cheap home-cooked meal right? But over time, you will realize that the cheap home-cooked meal is a staple and something that you will be unable to live without.

Conclusion

You might find it quite odd that I am chasing financial independence. Yet, I am of the stance that money cannot buy happiness. I am chasing financial independence so I can take money out of the equation in my life. I want my life to be stable and I want to work only because I love it and I want to, not for the sake of money. I want to share my experiences with my loved ones, and I want to spend time with them so that I do not regret any day of my life.

2 Comments

  • Jang

    I was always curious about looking for cheap and easy ways to incorporate more protein in my life. As a 18M looking to have some gains, could you suggest several cheal alternatives to protein powder? Thanks.

    • Junior

      For dollar to protein ratio, protein powder is actually one of the best value you can get out there. (provided you buy the cheaper proteins)
      If you are going for whole food options, stick to leaner meats, they are higher in protein content and usually cheaper because they are tougher to eat.
      If you are looking for greens, beans and edamame are your best friend.

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