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The Emotional Connection – Happiness and Spending

Our relationship with money often starts from a young age. Often determined by our upbringing, if we have it or not and we create habits early.

Does spending make you happy?

The link to our value

“We are continuously bombarded with the idea that spending and consumption make us more valuable as individuals “

It is very common that we link the amount of money we have to our value as an individual. Social media can make it seem that everyone has money and the perfect life. Celebrities and people we admire flaunt wealth and money and this often leads us to believe money is always linked to success and therefore happiness. We know that people only show the best of their lives online, but it doesn’t make it any less alluring. We are continuously bombarded with the idea that spending and consumption make us more valuable as individuals and in order to show that we are happy we must flaunt this. 

How we mess up our finances because of this…

When we equate our own happiness to how much money we earn this can indeed lead us down an unfulfilling path, we can stay in jobs we get no value from, work longer hours and lose sight of what truly matters to us. When we are then unhappy, feeling stressed and down it is easy to think spending money will make us feel happy. Buying things can give us a dopamine high and that short burst of pleasure when we have something shiny and new in our hands can be addictive. 

It can be easy to go through a rough patch in life, and slip into the habit of spending more on new things; clothes, nights out drinking and anything else that makes you feel happier short term. You slowly increase your spending but without really addressing the route of why you are unhappy. Spending more of what you have, the worst that happens is you don’t save but credit cards can quickly become maxed out and more difficult to manage. It is easy to see how spending can get out of control and you can increase your debt.

One of the first things when managing your finances is acknowledge this link. Taking a moment to think about why you are buying that new dress or expensive bottle of wine and if it is to fill a hole or gap just to think if you really need it. It is also helpful to use this as a guide and work out what truly matters to you;  time with family, friends, reading, exercising, cooking or whatever gives you pleasure. It can be the key to keeping your spending in control and ultimately save and reach your goals.

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