Happiness is intrinsically linked to relationships. Our relationships with friends, family, a life partner and, yes, also our relationship with our money. Of course, we’ve all heard that “money doesn’t buy happiness” but an absence of money can certainly cause misery and an inability to manage money often causes sky high stress levels.
It figures, therefore, that we must bring our finances under control if we are to go in pursuit of happiness. There are all manner of tools that can be used to help us manage our money but frugality must always be at the heart of such endeavors. Frugality can be defined simply as the prudent avoidance of waste, which fits in very nicely with today’s lean living zeitgeist.
Having established that managing our money successfully is one of the cornerstones of happiness, let’s look specifically at how frugal living contributes to an increased level of contentment.
A happier home life:
Money is often cited as one of the principal factors in divorce cases and, at the very least, can be a cause of friction in a relationship. Eliminating debt, reducing spending on unnecessary items, and being able to invest money for your shared future will help to strengthen a relationship. It provides reassurance that the present is being managed and that the future will be bright.
A reduction in clutter:
Most of us will at some point have become deeply depressed about the amount of clutter that we have somehow managed to accumulate. Cupboards can’t be opened without risking a junk avalanche and you may dread visitors calling because your living room is a mess. This sad state of affairs comes about not just because some of us are hoarders but also because so many of us have a spending habit or addiction. We buy stuff because we can and because we think it will provide a temporary boost to our happiness but often we find that it is wasted money and just gets used once and then takes up valuable space.
You don’t have to give up all material pleasures but reducing the amount that you spend on non-essential items will help both your bank balance and your efforts to keep a pleasant living space.
Satisfaction from achieving goals:
Those who commit to a more frugal lifestyle normally employ a budget and set goals in terms of spend reduction and how much they will put into savings accounts. Achieving personal goals is always enormously satisfying and helps to boost self esteem. It also has the effect of making us believe that we can go on and achieve many of the other desires that we have in life. So maybe proving to yourself that you can be a success in managing your money may give you the confidence and energy to tackle writing that novel or whatever other life goals you may have long harbored but never attempted.
Counting your money:
A final reason why adopting a frugal lifestyle increases happiness is that there is always an innate joy at checking your bank balance and seeing that you have more money that you’re accustomed to seeing! This is the positive confirmation that your discipline is being rewarded.
There is sometimes a view that adopting a frugal lifestyle is about giving up things that we like doing and that it will therefore lead to a reduced amount of happiness. However, the vast majority of us would probably recognize that we are guilty of spending too much for stuff that we could get cheaper and of splurging on items that we don’t need. Cutting out the waste from your lifestyle, therefore, doesn’t need to mean giving up life’s pleasures and, as outlined, may lead you to feel better about yourself and take you a step closer to that desired state of blissful contentment.