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I’m sure everyone has had the experience of going on a shopping spree and buying things they really can’t afford. But if you’re smart about your spending, you can make sure that all the money you spend isn’t a total waste.

Can money really buy happiness? Most people would argue that it can’t. Ask anyone what they need to be happy and it’s unlikely you’ll hear “a new pair of shoes” or “a bigger house”.

However, while money doesn’t buy happiness, some research is beginning to show that there are certain things you can spend your cash on if you want to feel the benefits to your emotional state. Here we present things that research has shown you can spend your money on to make yourself a little happier every day:

1. Investing in education. I don’t know many wealthy people who didn’t invest in themselves first by getting additional degrees or training that helped them grow into their wealth. It’s an investment — and typically one of the best ones you can make — so prioritize this one before anything else! 

2. Buying time for yourself . What would you do if every morning you woke up 1 hour, or 3 hours, or an entire day earlier? I guarantee it would be something that helped move your dreams and goals forward. When we buy time for ourselves, we get to focus on what’s really important: finding and pursuing our passions and interests .

3. Buying experiences rather than things . It’s always better to buy memories with friends and family than material items that you’ll just end up storing away in the attic anyway! 

4. Traveling ! This is one of my absolute favorite investments because not only will it broaden your horizons, but it will also come back to you through all of the amazing people you meet along the way who can help shape your future success. 

5. Investing in others . All wealthy people are givers. Whether you have a lot of money or not, the best thing you can do is give unconditionally to those around you and invest in their success.

6. Helping yourself with investments that pay you back . We’re talking about things like getting your car fixed properly, getting your teeth fixed, getting enough sleep , etc. These small investments all add up to big gains for your future self! 

7. Cutting down on mindless spending . Every time you notice yourself reaching for another cookie, buying another round at the bar, ordering another morning latte (…), STOP! And instead think about how you can reinvest that money to make your future self healthier and wealthier. 

9. Spending on others rather than on yourself . Whether it’s taking an elderly neighbor out to lunch or donating a few dollars from each paycheck to charity, all wealthy people have a giving mindset!

10. Not wasting money . Wealthy people know that their time is more valuable than spending hours trying to track down a retailer or company that’s been slacking on customer service, so they avoid wasting time and money by finding new alternatives. 

11. Avoiding financial stress . When you’re stressed out about your finances, it makes it really difficult to think clearly and creatively about how to grow your wealth (which is why you should read these 3 articles for some advice before calling up your credit card company). Stress also has physical consequences like muscle tension which can lead to health issues down the road. All in all, avoiding stress is one of the best investments we can make towards our future self!

12. Being an independent thinker . Wealthy people don’t follow the crowd; they make their own decisions and create their own future, which is why it’s so important to invest in yourself by becoming an independent thinker! 

13. Not taking on too much debt . Debt can really contaminate your future finances (see #11 above) because if you ever want to take a break from working, there will be no money coming in unless you’ve diligently saved up enough cash beforehand. A healthy amount of debt might be good for credit scores but not when it comes to actually investing in your health or freedom down the road. So avoid going into more debt than necessary! 15. Staying informed about how money works . This ties back into #1 above, but I think it’s worth repeating because wealthy people know how money works and are constantly improving their financial literacy . If you don’t understand the fundamentals of how money works, you’re going to have problems saving/making enough of it in the future.

Going into debt means that you don’t have the money to buy something right now — which is exactly what you’ll be doing if you go into debt for a new car or a vacation with your friends. Wealthy people carefully consider their finances before entering any new debt and they know that their own personal safety (in terms of money) comes first.

Paying off debt

Only invest in things that will make them money in the future – they don’t just buy “wants” when they should be focusing on “needs”. Even if you’re not wealthy yet, it’s important to prioritize eliminating your consumer debt (credit cards, student loans) before anything else! 

14. Making your own decisions about what to do with your money . Notice a trend here? Wealthy people avoid letting others decide how they should invest their money because they want to control their own destiny! Wealthy people know that every dollar is precious so they use those dollars according to what they think will benefit them most. 

Not becoming dependent on other people for making financial decisions . A lot of times we let our parents or friends make big financial decisions for us because we trust them or that’s just easier. But wealthy people know that if they’re going to be in control of their own future, they have to start making their own decisions when it comes to money!

15. Not following the crowd . Rich people avoid buying new cars and taking out mortgages like everyone else — because they understand the value in waiting for the right purchase. And wealthy people avoid following the crowd in other areas like fashion, because they don’t want to depend on expensive designers for their happiness.

16. Learning how to make money work for you . Whether it’s learning how compound interest works or reading books that teach you how money actually works, wealthy people educate themselves about how money works because they know that knowledge is power!

17. Having a strong support network . Wealthy people have a support network of friends and family who can help them make financial decisions or understand why they shouldn’t take out a certain kind of loan. If you don’t have anyone to talk to about your finances, consider joining an online community where you can get support from other like-minded individuals.

18. Getting professional financial advice . Even though you should do most of the research yourself, wealthy people still seek the advice of professionals when it comes to managing their wealth! You might want to try asking a friend or family member for some guidance first but if you’re going to be investing more money than usual, I’d highly recommend hiring a professional who can give you unbiased advice.

Getting your finances in order

People let their money work for them by opening up an investment account and letting compound interest do its thing instead of spending all their money right away. If you’re not sure where to start with investing, one of our advisors can help you pick out the right type of investment for your situation while also taking some of the guesswork out of investing!

19. Avoiding impulse purchases . It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re shopping, but wealthy people avoid making impulse purchases by focusing on the big picture and seeing what they’re really investing in! Stop yourself before that impulsive purchase turns into $1,000 of debt because there are bigger things at stake here than just instant gratification.

20. Paying yourself first . Always pay yourself first by saving some of their income for the future, no matter what’s going on around them. There is no better way to improve your financial future than giving yourself a head start with your own money!

21. Start now, not later . It might seem like putting off saving money until tomorrow will give you more options, but waiting too long could mean never reaching your goal! If you want to make something happen in your life financially, it has to be today or there won’t be any opportunities for you tomorrow.

22. Living within means . Wealthy people live within their means by spending less on things they don’t need and earning more through side hustles or investing in themselves. It’s okay to take a day off every now and then, but if you want to be wealthy one day, you have to learn how to make more money!

23. Creating income streams . Wealthy people create multiple income steams by increasing their value through education or taking on side hustles when they’re not at their main job. The more money you make, the less your time is worth – so why not spend that “free” time creating sources of income? 24. Picking up skills that will help you earn more . No matter what kind of work you do, keeping your skills sharpened is incredibly important because it allows you to continue earning more money! If your company offers classes or trainings for employees, sign up for as many of those as you can because the more skills you learn, the better.

Having a side hustle

Don’t be afraid to break out of your 9-5 job by making their hobby or passion into an income stream! It takes some risk and work, but it’s so worth it once you start earning more than your yearly salary from that side hustle.

Starting a business

If you have a dream to start your own business, now is the time because it’s never been cheaper or easier to launch a startup! All you need is an idea and a little bit of money before setting off on living your entrepreneurial dreams – so if this sounds like something you want to do, then now is the perfect time to start planning for that!

24. Negotiating . Wealthy people are always negotiating with others, whether it’s their landlords or car dealerships. If you have no idea what to say in a negotiation, this is something that may take some practice but it definitely pays off when you’re getting paid more money simply because you’ve learned how to negotiate!

25. Keeping an eye on the future . Rushing into things without looking at your finances down the road could end up costing you big time if there are any hiccups along the way. A good rule of thumb is to make sure it doesn’t cost more than 30% of your monthly income before you go into debt for that new laptop or expensive trip.

26. Only buying what you need . People who know how to spend less money by only purchasing what they actually need instead of impulsively buying whatever catches their eye at the store. If you really want something but can’t afford it right now, ask yourself: do I really need this? Is there a way that I can save money and get this later on?

27. Knowing your weaknesses . We all have our own unique set of strengths and weaknesses, but if you’re interested in getting rich, you need to focus on self-improvement because it’s never too late to become a more well-rounded person! If there are things you know you’re not good at or that frustrate you, find a way to get better at those things and you’ll be rich before you know it!

Bottom line

Wealthy people generally have a good understanding of how money works, and they’re smart about their purchases because they invest in things that will make them richer over the long run. 

They may not always make the most popular decisions when it comes to finances, but wealthy people know that taking control of their own lives is worth any criticism they might get from friends or family!

There are ways to make your money work for you and invest your money in things that actually enhance your way of life.

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