Hump Day Help – Create a Wish List
Welcome to the Hump Day Help. Each Wednesday we take one of the weekly actions from Jonathan Clements‘ blog Humble Dollar and “militarize” it for you. Jonathan Clements was a longtime personal finance columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and he offers great advice at the best price you can get…free. Here is this week’s Hump Day Help:
CREATE A WISH LIST. Want more happiness from your dollars? Write down the major purchases you’d like to make in the next few years—perhaps a car, vacation or kitchen remodeling. Regularly revise the list, keeping only items you’re still enthused about. Result: You’ll likely make wiser spending decisions—and you’ll enjoy a long period of pleasurable anticipation.
Our blog stats show that most people don’t click on the links, but the link above is a really good post and I don’t want you to miss it. Here are the ways Mr. Clements suggests we can use our money to increase our happiness:
- Spend time with friends and family. Throw a party. Go out to dinner with friends. Fly across the country to see your children or grandchildren. Happiness research suggests a robust network of friends and family can be a huge source of happiness.
- Devote yourself to work and hobbies that you find challenging, you’re passionate about, you think are important and you feel you’re good at. While achieving our goals often isn’t as satisfying as we imagine, making progress toward these goals can give us great satisfaction. Think about those moments when you’re engaged in activities you love, you’re completely absorbed and time just whizzes by. These moments of what psychologists call “flow” can be among our happiest times.
- Buy experiences, not possessions. The new car will likely go from a source of happiness to a source of unhappiness as it gets dinged up and breaks down. By contrast, a vacation can provide not just a wonderful week or two with family, but also many months of eager anticipation and many years of fond memories.
- Move closer to work. Research suggests a long commute can be terrible for happiness. We like to feel in control, and that’s tough to do when we’re dealing every day with traffic or public transportation.
- Don’t move to a ritzier neighborhood than you can truly afford. Your wealthy neighbors will be a constant reminder that you aren’t so fortunate.
- Plan far ahead. When we spend money, often the best part is the anticipation, as we imagine how great it’ll be to go on vacation or take delivery of the new car. Make sure you enjoy a long period of anticipation by avoiding impulse purchases—and instead pondering major purchases for at least a few months.
- Pay others to do chores you dislike, whether it’s mowing the lawn, making dinner or cleaning the house.
- Give a little. Volunteering doesn’t just help others. It can also make us feel good about ourselves. Ditto for buying gifts.
- Count your blessings. Okay, maybe the new car doesn’t give you the same thrill it once did. But you might be able to squeeze a little more happiness from the vehicle if you pause for a moment, admire it and think how lucky you are.