How Much Happiness Can Money Buy Exactly?

The first time I was ever warned that money can’t buy happiness was in the lyrics by The Notorious B.I.G.:

“‘mo money, ‘mo problems.”

This song came out in the 90s when I was a kid. And as a kid, I was hugely skeptical.

“People don’t know how to spend their money!” I told myself.

Even Will Farrell tweeted:

“Money doesn’t buy happiness? Well it buys a jet ski. Have you ever seen a sad person on a jet ski? It’s impossible to be sad on a jet ski.”


But as I get older, I realize not only does more money mean more problems, but also that money doesn’t solve all problems.

The big one that money doesn’t solve is giving you more time.

I made a list of what my ideal life would look like on a random weekday. Here it is in no particular order:

[Drum roll please…]

  •  Spend time with my kids and watch their day-to-day growth.
  • Visit my parents more often.
  • Take a public speaking class.
  •  Take a Zumba class.
  • Finish my genealogy project.
  • Upload iPhone pics to Chatbooks.
  • Surprise husband with visits to his hospital so we can see him more.
  • Volunteer at a charity.
  • Send greeting cards to friends.
  • Bring meals to my friends who are sick or having babies.
  • Read more books.

Everything on this list would greatly increase my life’s happiness. And get this: most are basically FREE.

So I ask myself this very honest question:

“Why aren’t I doing all of this??”

The answer is so simple: I can’t because there are only 24 hours in a day!

That leads me to this conclusion:

Everything has a time cost, not just dollar cost.

If I want to be happier, I need time to do what is most important to me.

Remember, everything you buy has a cost you trade your life for. And life is short.

When it comes to making the biggest purchases in life with your DrSpouse, get on the same page:

  • Does buying a dream house make you obligated to make bigger mortgage payments for many more years?
  • Or do you need a different dream to make room for the things that will make you truly happier?

Only you two can answer those questions.

Whatever the answer, agree with each other on what is worth trading your life for.