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This is Why Money “Can” Buy Happiness…Maybe

This is Why Money “Can” Buy Happiness…Maybe

“Love of money is the root of all evil.”

“The best things in life are free.”

“Money can’t buy happiness.”

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The list of goes on and on. But what if money actually could buy happiness? What if people started viewing money in a different light and began appreciating its purpose rather than fearing its lack? What if giving what you hope to get actually worked?  And what if maybe, just maybe, you bust out of your comfort zone, get a little radical and test-drive a few of these myth-busting slants for yourself? Do it. I triple dog dare you!

Notion #1: Spending money on someone else has the power to “turn that frown upside down.”

Try it if you don’t believe me. Next time you’re in line at your local coffee shop, for example, play philanthropist and pay for the person behind you. Their shock alone will be enough to bring a smile to your face. Not only that, your actions effectively set into motion the law of “what goes around comes around,” putting you next in line to be the receiver of a surprise gift. Even if it doesn’t come back to you in the form of a much-needed latte, you can always pull up that feeling of happiness you got from using your frown-reversal technique in the coffee shop.

Notion #2: Never underestimate the power of good hair.

Or nice clothes. Or a massage. Let’s face it, regardless of your gender, you know you want to put your best foot forward. Looking and feeling “fly” makes you confident, sexy and happy. Unless you’re getting the most amazing styles ever at the Great Clips, find a salon–or tailor or spa–that may cost a little more, but will make you look and feel your best. You are worth it, after all.

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Notion #3: Time is money, and spending money to have more time is a good use of both your time and money.

Look at it this way: you’ve been spending all of your after-work “free” time trying to paint the master bathroom, for example. You absolutely hate painting, and it’s pulling you away from your family, friends and fun.So hire a professional. Seriously. Think about the time, energy and, yes, even money, you’ll be saving by having someone who enjoys painting do your dirty work for you. Ahhh, yes, that’s the exhaling sound of money buying you peace and happiness.

Notion #4: Having money to pay your bills brings relief and makes room for a little more happiness in your day.

Dreading answering the phone, opening the mailbox or reading e-mails because you know there are at least two collectors waiting for you on the other end creates even more, well, dread.

Notion #5: Paying for–and using–a gym membership induces happiness.

It gets your endorphins endorphing, your clothes fitting looser and your mirror reflecting a more spunky you, yes? The trick here, of course, is the “using it” part. If you end up hitting the weights for only a few months and then fall off the proverbial treadmill, then by all means cancel your membership. Not spending on money on something is just as effective at bringing you joy as paying for something does.

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Notion #6: Healthy equals happy.

While running up your Visa to buy six pairs of shoes in every color may bring temporary happiness, opening the credit card statement will not.  When you guiltlessly spend your hard-earned money on things like taking your family to see Cats, going on the vacation you’ve been putting off or buying a big screen TV for your Friday Night Movie Night with your kids (or even Monday Night Football with the guys), you can rest assured that’s money well spent. After all, smiles are free and there will be many of those that come from the memories you made from using money to create them.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with allowing yourself to have a healthy relationship with spending money. Perhaps it’s time to let go of other people’s limiting thoughts and “wisdom” and start living in a way that brings happiness to you and everyone around you. Remember, it’s the love of money that steals your joy–not necessarily the use of it.

So to the person who said “money can’t buy happiness,” I say “Oh really?!”

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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