Saturday, July 7, 2007

The cost of happiness

I read an interesting article from about Discovering What’s Important and Discarding The Rest. In the article, the author suggested that each person should make a list of the things that make us happy and another list of things that make us feel low. We should prioritize the list of things that make us happy and try to center all our emotional and financial efforts on those things. This way we can spend our time and money wisely on things that will truly give us fulfillment, at the same time help us eliminate unnecessary spending and make us feel so much happier about the money we spend. More often that not, our lows would include being financially crippled and not having enough for what we need when we need it.

I couldn’t agree more with the author. I often catch myself asking the question “where did my money go?” And most of the time I realize that I had spent it on trivial things that don’t really make my life significantly better. Like buying a new color of lip gloss or a new bottle of lotion or a new scent of perfume which I then realize I already have too much of. I get easily tempted to buy every pretty pair of shoes that I see. Then I complain afterwards that they hurt my feet and they end up on display in my shoe rack (for my appreciation only).

I guess I should reconsider my priority list again and evaluate what really matters most in my life. I think at this point what would be on top of my list would be my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and having a well-nourished mind (including that of my husband). I won’t shun away from shopping but I will definitely think twice before I purchase a new dress, a pair of shoes or a handbag. (I’m still a girl, I have needs.)

Recently, I was tempted to spend all my savings from tutoring on $40 designer dresses in the outlet store. Luckily, I didn't have much time to look around when we went to the shop. Now, i have to re-think what I'm going to do with my savings. Spend it here in Korea OR save it for Pilates classes and travels to the beach in the Phils OR simply save it for the rainy days?

Whether we admit it or not, money really does play an important role in our happiness rating. The happiest people don’t necessarily have to be millionaires but I would bet that they are financially independent – debt free and living well within their means.

I still believe in the saying that the best things in life are free but at the end of the day, the reality is we still have bills to pay. We need to save and spend wisely.

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