4 Instances Where Money Can Buy Happiness (And 4 Times It Can’t)

Earlier this week, we shared our thoughts about using money to buy happiness in the Financial Conversation podcast. But just in case you missed the episode, here is what we ultimately decided: using money to buy happiness is all about balance.

We discussed instances where money can seemingly buy happiness, but for only for a limited a time. While it felt like we had reached a decision that money can’t buy true happiness, we then switched up our perspective when Erin asked us about using money buy things like more time by outsourcing things we don’t enjoy.

In the end, we came to the conclusion that there are times when money can buy happiness, just as there are times when it can’t. Here are 4 instances where money can buy happiness, and 4 times when it can’t.

There are times when money can buy happiness, and times when it only provides us with a temporary high. Here's our take on when it works and doesn't work.

When Money Can Buy Happiness

“I feel pretty darn happy that I can use a small portion of my income to pay someone to do one of the things I hate most in the world – cleaning my house. Every two weeks I leave a check on my table and I spend the afternoon working from a coffee shop or library. I’m so happy to return to a clean home, especially because I’m able to make more money than I spent to have my house cleaned.”


“Money provides me with happiness in many ways. At a very basic level, I know I’d be a nervous wreck if I had nothing to my name. Having savings gives me peace of mind and the flexibility to live a life I’m ultimately happy to live. I don’t have to stress a lot about whether or not I can afford something, which is always a relief. Money also allows me to buy tickets back home to see loved ones.”

– Erin

“Money helps give me security and stability and that makes me feel happy and grateful. I’d be lying if I said that I would be just as happy and hopeful as I am now if I were living on the street and eating out of a garbage can. Money allows me to provide for myself and my family and the stability that it gives me makes me feel great. As long as money is helping you meet your basic needs and goals, I believe it can improve your mood and outlook on life. But you shouldn’t believe that having money is the only way to be happy.”


“Money can’t buy happiness, but it certainly helps. Especially since we’re in a much better place financially now than we were three years ago, I can attest to how much money helps with happiness. I’m not as stressed out, we have money to pay the bills, and we don’t have to worry about how we’re going to put food on the table. Having financial stability definitely improves my overall well-being.”


When Money Can’t Buy Happiness

“I used to spend money on things that only made me temporarily happy. Money and shopping was used to make myself feel better during some emotionally trying times in my life, but the “high” from shopping only lasted for a short while. Buying those material things, most of which I barely remember, got me into a financial mess that I’m still digging out of.”


“Money can provide you with a lot of good in your life, but there are some things that humans require that it can’t buy. Money can’t buy unconditional love and companionship. As I get older, I realize that the things that truly make my soul happy have nothing to do with money. Seeing my son and fiance greet me with a smile and a hug when I get home from work each day makes me feel happy. You can’t buy that. And if you try to buy something as genuine as love, companionship or true friendship, you’ll wind up feeling emotions that are quite the opposite of happiness.”


“Money helps sustain your basic needs in life, but money isn’t everything. Money can’t give you friendship and family. Money can’t provide the loving relationships that will last long after money comes and goes. Even though reaching financial stability and even financial independence is important, you can’t forget to focus on the things that truly matter in life.”

– Kristi 

“It seems like a lot of people are under the false assumption that money can buy happiness by way of things. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that most things only give you a taste of happiness. It’s never lasting. All new things fade eventually, and then it’s off to chase the next thing. Stringing yourself along like that isn’t conducive to a happy lifestyle. You need to dig deeper to find out what makes you happy and tune out the rest. Far too often we’re influenced by the purchases and possessions of others when we need to shift the focus to our own lives. When money is used to elevate your status in society, it’s not buying happiness. It’s just buying you more things to worry about and keep up with. The painful realization is that these things likely aren’t going to matter in a year, either.”

– Erin

Do you think money can buy happiness? When has it been able to buy you happiness? When did you THINK money was buying happiness, when it really wasn’t?

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