Does More Money Equal More Happiness?

Does more money equal happiness for you?

If so, then a single-income lifestyle might not be the way to go. We often ponder this question in our home. Money (or lack thereof) is often a thought haunting the back of my mind. I think about how our life would be easier (housekeeper, gardener anyone?) or nicer (vacations to somewhere other than the in-laws’?) if we had more money. But would those things really make me happier? God knows I don’t like cleaning the toilets and mopping the kitchen floor, but I think those chores do allow me to appreciate the moments when my house is clean. Or clean enough. And vacations to the in-laws’ are really not that bad. The kiddo gets to be spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa for a few days.

Carl Milstead, Jr. wrote an article for The Free Liberal last month questioning the GDP. He presents the question of whether we (as a nation) are happier than past generations that were not as wealthy as a whole. I’m taking the question to a much smaller, more local setting: my own home.

Our income was slashed in half when I decided to become a stay at home mom. Going into this new single-income lifestyle was very scary. It still is some days. Especially days when we have to pay the bills. Or have a termite treatment. Or get the air conditioning replaced. However, all that aside, I do believe that we are happier than we were before. I cannot speak for both of us, so let me amend that to say that we are at least as happy as we were when we were DINKs (double-income no kids).

We have had to make changes to our lifestyle. We do not eat out as frequently as we did before. Now we eat together as a family and the food we eat is much healthier than what we’d be getting at a restaurant. We do not travel as much as we did before. However, we have found several great playgrounds near our home and have come to savor our own backyard.

Yes, there are still days when I do not want to open Quicken or look at the budget report. There are days when I long for a new pair of shoes (frivolous shoes) or a weekend at Disneyland. But overall, I think I have come to appreciate the smaller things in life like our backyard, a bike ride, home-made bread and line-dried clothes. While more money would be nice and might bring me more ‘things.’ What really makes me happy is watching my kid play in the sandbox in the backyard, going down the slide at the park and reading in our rocking chair. Oh, and I guess my husband makes me happy too. 😉

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