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Money Can’t Buy Happiness

November 17, 2011

You know what bugs me? When people with money tell me that you don’t need money to be happy. And then they book their trip to Hawaii. Or they tell me this in their ginormous house.

Sure, there are plenty of things money can’t buy you, but lots of things that it can.

It can’t buy you talents, but it can certainly help you develop them. My son is so excited about playing the violin, but his large orchestra class of 90 hardly gives him the instruction he needs. So no, son. You can’t have private violin lessons. We had to borrow an instrument from the district because we couldn’t afford to rent it, so I’m stressing about how we will buy him a full size one when the time comes.

Money can help you have a lot of experiences that you can’t have if you’re poor.

I’m not even talking about going to Hawaii here. That would be nice to do someday. I’ve been teary eyed all day because my sister had her baby and I can’t go see her. I know so many people who hardly think twice about hopping on a plane for weddings, funerals, and babies, but we’re lucky if my husband gets to see his family once every three years. We couldn’t go to his grandmother’s funeral a few months ago because we don’t have money and we can’t go to his brother’s wedding for the same reason. He also hasn’t been with his family for Christmas since 2006.

If you have money, don’t tell poor people that money can’t buy you happiness. There are many things they can’t do because of finances and it hurts. Over time, you start to feel like a big loser always being the needy one. Applications come home for free lunches at school, WIC, programs to help buy our kids presents, and recently a friend asked me to apply for a scholarship so my daughter can be in her daughter’s preschool. These are all wonderful things and I’m glad they exist to help people, but it really wears on me. I said no to the preschool idea because I can’t stand the thought of one more handout and it just feels like it’s never going to end.

I don’t want luxuries. I’m way too practical for that. All I want is a modest house, not to worry about whether we can afford groceries this month, and to know that if someone in our family is dying or in need, we can be there for them.

We’re going to be out of debt this year and we had high hopes for buying a house, but after using a mortgage calculator, I discovered based on our income, we would only qualify for about $130,000. That kind of home doesn’t exist around here unless there is something wrong with it. My self-employment income won’t be factored in until I have claimed it on my taxes for three years. My husband’s company recently said they can’t work overtime anymore, so that’s just additional salt in my wound.

I have no idea what we’re going to do, but we have to move this Summer. We have lived in this apartment for over nine years. People tell me they admire me for handling that for so long and in the same breath, “I could never do that!” Yeah, well we’re not getting out of here without money, so stop telling me that we don’t need it!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2011 1:52 pm

    Next time someone says this, reply: “Great! Then it won’t hurt your happiness to share some with me!”

    • November 17, 2011 2:03 pm

      Haha!!! Yeah, seriously! I swear every person who has ever said that to me has everything they could ever want. Drives me nuts. I know money can’t fix your relationships and other really important things, but lack of causes a huge amount of stress and it can make you feel quite unhappy. How does one feel happy when they don’t know how they’re going to feed their family?

      • November 17, 2011 3:40 pm

        It depends how you define happiness. In my view happiness is more based on relationships than on any other factor. Lack of money does have a tendency to strain relationships, and I think this is why it tends to affect happiness. Lack of money also causes a lot of stress, but if relationships somehow manage to stay strong and supportive, the stress can be handled and even channelled into creative problem-solving and energy. My wife and I have been in very “needy” circumstances before, for a few years, but our relationship helped us to be generally happy in spite of it.

        Another major factor in our happiness was our faith: trusting that Heavenly Father would provide after all we could do, really helped us to not over-worry. Now, we didn’t have children back then so I’m sure it can’t compare with your experience!

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