I am frugal, and I hate shopping and stuff, but I do like to shop for certain stuff, sometimes. I’ll walk into a dollar store and just blow a dollar for fun on something that is just dumb, such as a foam sword to fight my kids with when I walk in the door. I might buy a lotto ticket a few times a year, just for the curiosity that I feel lucky, and today I might turn a dollar into twenty dollars. I’ll buy a slip n’ slide in the summer just because, why not go sliding down a hill and get cut up on dirt, rocks, and get grass burn. It’s a fun activity for the whole family. All of these purchases are wasted money, and they probably add up to around $200- $300 a year. But, I don’t mind this at all because they make me happy.
I understand the difference between wants and needs very well, but sometimes I just want to do something for my personal happiness. I understand that my recent venture into buying two honey bee hives for the backyard is not a need, and that it may take me twenty years to get my money back on that initial investment. But, everyday that I have had them, I have walked out to watch them fly in and out of the hive gathering and working hard to make honey. I get joy in watching this simple process happen, so its a great purchase. I can easily just buy a jug of honey from Costco for cheap, but where is the joy in just buying the honey in a jug. I get to watch tiny flying insects actually make honey in my yard! The miracle of nature, right!
I spend a lot of time outside when I’m at home, so I tend to spend money on things outside that make me happy. I have a little garden that makes me happy, I have a hammock in the trees that makes me happy, I have a TV on my back porch that makes me happy watching movies outside at night, and I have backpacking gear that was pretty expensive, but when I use it I get to feel extreme happiness hiking trails into the beauty of nature. These purchases could all have been avoided, money invested, and could have grown my wealth faster, but I would not have enjoyed that as much as reading a book in my hammock in the wind. I also would not have the fun stories that I get to tell my friends, or seen things such as black bears in the wilds of Colorado.
Most of what creates happiness doesn’t cost that much money. I can get a Slurpee from 7-11 for $1.19 and be happy on my drive home from work. I can get donuts for breakfast for $2.25 and walk into the classroom with a little more pep from the sugar. I’m talking about $10-$20 a month on little things here and there to give me a little happiness, but every once in a while I do something big. My next big project is the four fruit trees I want to plant near my bees in the Fall. The trees are $20 each for $80 total. Walking into my back yard and just eating off a tree will bring me happiness, and $80 for this joy year after year is money well spent. I love just walking around my land and finding things to eat. The other morning I ate a hand full of wild blackberries while working on trimming some trees. It was awesome, they lifted my tired spirits, and they tasted like pure sugary happiness! The trees can do the same thing for years or the rest of my life!
So, before you buy those new shoes, that new car, the new furniture, the new wardrobe, stop and think about your happiness. Why are you buying these things? Is this a need or a want? I bet you can find happiness for cheaper. I also bet that if you plan right, you can create happiness year after year with a single purchase (hammocks!). Analyze before you buy and see if you can’t spend better for creating the maximum amount of happiness in your life. Happy Shopping!!