I have been totally rubbish at keeping up to date with my Happiness Project updates, but I have been continuing with the project nevertheless.
In all honesty, I was pants at September’s objectives and barely managed to reach any of my goals. I missed birthdays and I failed to set up a diary full of birthday and anniversary dates – something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. It was a crazy month and life well and truly got in the way, but I made amends in October and continued on with some of September’s goals during the month.
October was all entitled – Buy Some Happiness and my goals for the month were:
- Indulge In A Modest Splurge
- Buy Needful Things
- Spend Out
- Give Something Up
When it comes to spending money I’m not very good at spending it on myself. I’ll quite happily buy items for the children or for Mark, but I hate spending money on me and suffer badly from Buyer’s Remorse so I had a feeling that I was going to find October’s goals tricky.
My ‘modest splurge’ was probably nothing more than an average purchase for most people, but to me it felt like I was being frivolous and it took a lot to convince myself to buy it. I was on a rare shopping day with a friend and she was determined to help me liven up my wardrobe (I wear far too much black and grey apparently!). Normally I would wait for my birthday or Christmas and ask for new clothes, or I would pop in to Primark and pick up a few cheapy bits, but my friend was having none of that. We scoured the shops looking for items and weren’t having much luck, but then I saw a skirt that was outside my comfort zone but not so far that I would never wear it. It was £35 and that’s a lot for me to spend on one item, but it felt so nice to know that I had a new skirt that was going to look great when I wore it.
Our house seems to be slightly chaotic at the best of times, that’s without all the renovations that are going on too. We are usually running out to the shops last minute on a Sunday night to buy bread for lunches the following day, or getting down to the last drop of conditioner in the bottle without having a spare ready to go and this is something that drives me crazy. I hate having to pop to the shops at the best of times, so knowing that I need to go because otherwise none of us will be able to brush our teeth that night irritates the life out of me and puts me in a really bad mood. I happened to be in the supermarket one Saturday and noticed that my favourite brand of conditioner was on offer, I wasn’t going to purchase any as I hadn’t long opened a new bottle but then I realised that sooner or later we would run out and that I should buy some while it was on offer. I bought two bottles, one for me and one for Abby. A few days later Abby told me that she had run out of conditioner and I was able to produce one of the bottles I had bought a few days previously. The fact that I didn’t need to pop out and buy some after work the following day made me feel so happy and I realised that it is better to buy needful things.
When I first read Rubin’s list of goals for October I wasn’t too sure what she meant buy ‘spend out’. Was I meant to blow my month’s salary on an expensive handbag or treat the kids to loads of new things? It turns out that to ‘spend out’ means to use something instead of keeping it for best. I am terrible at buying things and then putting them away to keep ‘for best’. The nice bedding that we would use once the bedroom was decorated, the cake stand that I would put out next time we had a party, the shoes I was saving for a night out, they were all gathering dust in various cupboards and I was getting no enjoyment from them at all. Life has taught me this year that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so why was I keeping all of these items for best? I decided that it needed to stop, just in case tomorrow never comes. I put the expensive new bedding on the bed, at least it looks nice around all the clutter of our undecorated bedroom. I wore the shoes that I was saving and several people commented on how nice they were and I decided that our expensive wedding china is going to waste spending most of it’s life sat in a cupboard, only coming out for Christmas Day. It’s time to use it all year, to enjoy having nice crockery and when it breaks then we can buy a new set and enjoy that too. It feels so nice to have the nicer items out and in use and I learnt that I need to live for today as who knows what will happen tomorrow.
My final goal was to ‘give something up’ and I had no idea what to do for this one. It is said that giving up an item that you spend money on can bring happiness as you are saving money that can be spent elsewhere. I don’t smoke or take drugs, I don’t drink very often and I don’t purchase lots of unnecessary items, so I wasn’t sure what I could give up. In the end I decided that I wasn’t going to give up spending money as I hardly spend anything other than on the essentials anyway. What I did give up was putting myself last when it came to spending money, if I needed an item I was going to buy it instead of putting it off until a more suitable time as that time would never arrive.
I think it is true that money can buy you happiness, but I do believe that you only get the full effect of this when it’s done in moderation. If I went out every day and bought myself something new I wouldn’t appreciate each item, or if I bought the kids a treat each week they would come to expect it and no longer be grateful.
What do you think? Can money buy happiness? What would be your modest splurge or what would you give up?