Can Money Buy Happiness? It Pays for Pedicures, Not Peace of Mind!

Laura Adams

Financial Growth

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Can Money Buy Happiness? It Pays for Pedicures, Not Peace of Mind!

Laura Adams

Financial Growth

Can Money Buy Happiness? It Pays for Pedicures, Not Peace of Mind!

Ah, the age-old question that’s been the subject of dinner table debates, philosophical discussions, and maybe even a late-night pondering or two: Can money buy happiness?

Spoiler alert: The answer isn’t as straightforward as swiping a credit card for a burst of serotonin. Whether you’re hustling to climb the corporate ladder, juggling a side gig, or simply staring at a pair of designer shoes you’re not sure you should splurge on, this conundrum has probably crossed your mind.

Stick around because we’re about to unwrap this complex puzzle in a way that might have you texting your BFF saying, “Girl, you’ve got to read this!”

Let’s get started!

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Key Takeaways

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Money Can Buy Choices, Not Complete Happiness: While financial stability can offer freedom and opportunities, it’s not a one-stop shop for all forms of happiness. Remember this as you budget your life, not just your wallet.

Invest in What’s Priceless: Relationships, inner peace, and personal growth are some of your most valuable assets. Unlike the latest designer bags, they never go out of style.

Balance Is Key: Money plays a role in our overall happiness, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Strive for a balanced life where you invest both in your financial future and your emotional well-being.

Share the Wisdom: If this article spoke to you, it will likely resonate with other women in your life. Click that share button, and let’s raise a community of empowered, balanced women together.

can money buy happiness graphic

The Million-Dollar Question

Can Money Buy Happiness?

If only we had a penny for every time someone pondered this question—we’d all be millionaires. And perhaps we’d finally know the answer! Money has long been equated with success, power, and sometimes even happiness.

From self-help books preaching the gospel of prosperity to social media posts glamorizing lavish lifestyles, it’s easy to assume that happiness has a price tag attached to it. But is that price tag real, or is it just one of those retail tricks, like putting the $.99 at the end to make it look cheaper?

We’re rolling up our sleeves and cracking open the research—minus the scientific jargon—so sit tight!

Why This Topic Resonates With Everyone, Especially Women

Let’s be real for a second: Who hasn’t dreamt of hitting the jackpot or getting that fat paycheck, imagining all worries would evaporate like a bad perfume?

However, this topic hits closer to home for many women. Between the notorious gender pay gap, societal expectations, and the often-underestimated ‘second shift’ at home, women have a different relationship with money.

For many, it’s not just about luxury but liberation—being able to make choices that align with personal goals and not just financial constraints. Imagine not picking between career, family, or even a spa day and monthly bills. Suddenly, the question of whether money can buy happiness becomes philosophical, deeply personal, and, let’s face it, more than a little complicated.

So, the question looms large: Can money really purchase those giggles and contented sighs? Is it a first-class ticket to Blissville, or are we barking up the wrong (money) tree?

Let’s dig in, shall we?

And remember, you might want to share what you discover with the women in your life who are wrestling with this million-dollar question, too.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

The question at hand is straightforward, but the answer is nuanced. Money can indeed buy certain elements that contribute to happiness. It can offer you the freedom to make choices that align with your personal goals, the opportunity to invest in experiences that enrich your life, and the capacity to relieve financial stress that often acts as a roadblock to well-being.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that while money can facilitate happiness up to a point, it isn’t an all-encompassing solution. Emotional connections, a sense of purpose, and inner peace are aspects of happiness that money cannot procure.

So, while money is a significant factor, it is not the sole determinant of a happy life. But hey, if you want to cash in on some extra joy, here’s your coupon to snag 50% off on happiness!

happness coupon discount

Yes, Money Can Buy (Some) Happiness

Sure, according to The Beatles, money can’t buy you love, but it can certainly snag you a nice dinner date. And let’s face it, while money may not be the direct key to happiness, it can certainly unlock a few doors along the way.

can money buy happiness comic

What Does Money Buy?

Freedom, Choices, and Opportunity

Imagine the world as a giant shopping mall, but instead of buying things, you’re buying experiences, opportunities, and a bit of freedom. It’s like having an “All-Access Pass” to the concert of life.

Multiple studies have shown that up to a certain point, having a higher income is positively correlated with higher levels of well-being. A landmark study by Princeton University economists Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that emotional well-being increases with income up to about $75,000 annually. After that, additional income does little to affect daily happiness.

So, What Do You Get for Your Money?

For starters, the freedom to choose a job you love over a job you need. Financial stability can also lead to better healthcare options, a more comfortable living environment, and the opportunity to broaden your horizons through travel or education. These aren’t just purchases but investments in your personal happiness portfolio.

can money buy happiness infographic

Here’s where we get to the fun part: the shopping list for happiness, or let’s call it, your “personal happiness portfolio.”

Money isn’t just a paper ticket to a shopping spree; it’s a golden key to various life doors.

So, what exactly can this key unlock? Here’s what you can buy with money:


Time is a critical asset that money can often buy. Think about it: when you can afford services like housekeeping, grocery delivery, or even a virtual assistant for mundane tasks, you’re essentially buying yourself the freedom to spend your time as you wish.

Whether it’s pursuing a hobby, spending quality moments with family, or simply taking a breather, freeing up time can significantly boost your happiness.

Career Choices

The freedom to follow your passion, to choose a job that lights you up rather than just one that pays the bills.

Quality Healthcare

Let’s face it: better healthcare isn’t just a want; it’s a need. With financial stability, you can afford preventative care, better treatment options, and even those rejuvenating spa days that keep you glowing.

Comfortable Living Environment

Think of a cozy home that uplifts your spirit, maybe even in a neighborhood where you don’t have to double-check your car locks.

Travel Opportunities

The chance to see the world, experience new cultures, and broaden your perspectives—because, let’s be honest, Instagram pictures in exotic locales are nice, but the real joy is in the experience.

Education and Personal Growth

Whether it’s a cooking class, a photography workshop, or a Master’s degree, money provides the ticket to enrich your skills and feed your soul.

Investment in Relationships

Think of date nights, family vacations, or even couples counseling. These are ways to nurture your emotional connections and contribute to your happiness.

These aren’t frivolous expenditures but strategic investments in your life happiness portfolio. While a shoe-shopping spree can give you a temporary high, these thoughtful expenses are the long-term stocks and bonds in your happiness investment account.

So, next time you find yourself with some extra dough, maybe skip the designer handbag (unless it’s been your lifelong dream, then, girl, go for it!) and think about where you can invest for lasting joy.

What Money Can’t Buy

The Limits

Just like that favorite pair of shoes that pinch after a while, money also has its limitations. While it can buy you things and even experiences, there are treasures in life that stay blissfully off-limits to your credit card. Let’s talk about those because these riches can keep your happiness account in the black even when your bank account isn’t.

Emotional Wealth: Relationships, Community, and Inner Peace

You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’re sitting around the dinner table with your loved ones, sharing stories and laughter? That’s emotional wealth, and trust me, it’s not available for purchase, even on Amazon Prime.

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, strong social connections are a key predictor of well-being and mental health. Emotional support, a sense of belonging, and the inner peace that comes from meaningful relationships are assets you can’t put a price tag on.

The Immaterial Joys Money Can’t Touch

Ah, the Maldives—white sands, turquoise waters, and those irresistible overwater bungalows! It’s the stuff of Instagram dreams. But let’s get real: Even if you were sipping the world’s most exquisite champagne there, it could feel like plain seltzer if you didn’t have the right company or emotional well-being.

So, what are the priceless gems that even a black American Express card can’t snag for you?

Here’s a list of things money can’t buy:

Meaningful Relationships

Whether it’s the love of a partner, the unconditional support of a friend, or the irreplaceable bond with a family member, these connections offer a type of wealth that money can’t buy.

Inner Peace

You can’t stroll into a store and say, “I’ll take three boxes of inner peace, please.” It comes from within and often from overcoming challenges and experiencing personal growth.

The Joy of Achievement

Whether watching your child’s first steps, nailing a job interview, or finally mastering that headstand in yoga, the sense of accomplishment is something you earn, not purchase.


The freedom to be yourself, quirks and all, is a luxury no amount of money can buy. Authentic relationships and true self-expression are gifts that are earned over time, not purchased off a shelf.

Community and Belonging

The feeling you get from being part of a community, from shared rituals and mutual support, isn’t something you can put a price tag on.

Physical and Mental Health

While money can afford better healthcare, the foundation of good health often lies in genetics, lifestyle choices, and a dash of good fortune.


Those simple yet priceless memories—like your mom’s comforting lullaby or your dad’s disastrous yet hilarious cooking attempts are treasures you carry in your heart, not your wallet.

So, the next time you’re daydreaming about lounging in an overwater bungalow, remember to pack these immaterial joys in your emotional suitcase. Because when it comes to true happiness, these are the VIPs, and no amount of money can get them through the door.

Those are the joys that money can’t touch.

Here’s another relatable nugget: Remember the last time you tried to ‘buy’ peace by treating yourself to a spa day, only to come home to the same pile of unanswered emails and unfinished chores? That’s the universe telling you that some things—like a calm mind—can’t be bought; they must be cultivated.

Let’s not forget the pure joy of watching your favorite rom-com for the millionth time, snuggled in your most comfortable pajamas. No lavish Broadway show can replace that comfort, can it?

So, while money can bring a sense of temporary happiness by adding comfort and experiences to your life, there’s a richness to be found in the simple, everyday moments and connections that money can’t purchase. These moments add flavor and depth to your life in a way that a shopping spree can’t match.

Remember, the essence of life’s greatest joys often lies in the intangible. So go ahead and cherish these irreplaceable aspects of life, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that the road to happiness is paved with more than just gold coins.

Conditional Happiness

The Grey Area

So, we’ve chatted about what money can and can’t do for your joy meter. But life isn’t just black and white; there’s a whole palette of grays in between. Sometimes, money can buy conditional happiness—a state of delight or contentment that depends on certain factors.

Let’s pull back the curtain on this grey area.

Security vs. Fulfillment

Can We Have Both?

You’ve probably heard this before: “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy security, and that’s close enough.” There’s some truth here. Knowing you can make rent, cover your bills, and still splurge on that divine piece of chocolate cake (or kale salad, if that’s your jam) can bring peace of mind.

A Journal of Economic Psychology study reveals that financial security substantially impacts life satisfaction. But does peace of mind equate to fulfillment?

Here’s where we get practical: Start with a financial plan. Budget for your essentials, save for your future, and don’t forget to allocate some “you money.” This plan can’t guarantee a lifetime of laughter, but it can provide a safety net that brings peace of mind, which is a stepping stone to happiness.

Just knowing you have a cushion can alleviate stress, even if that cushion isn’t as plush as you’d like it to be (yet).

Happiness Jigsaw

Money as One Piece of the Puzzle

If happiness were a jigsaw puzzle, money would be just one piece, albeit a corner one that helps shape the big picture. Sure, it’s important, but it’s not the entire game.

Happiness money puzzle
Happiness Jigsaw

A life of financial luxury devoid of meaningful relationships, a sense of purpose, or personal growth can feel pretty hollow. Imagine eating a cake made entirely of frosting. Delicious for the first bite but sickening pretty quickly.

Balancing financial goals with other life-affirming factors like love, friendship, and personal growth can create a fuller, richer tapestry of happiness. It’s okay to hustle for that promotion or that dream home, but not at the expense of missing your best friend’s wedding or your child’s first recital.

So, consider your financial plans as just one section of your broader ‘Happiness Portfolio.’ The returns may fluctuate, but a well-diversified portfolio will always give you something to smile about.

What Does the Research Say?

Alright, for those of you who’ve been nodding along but are craving some cold, hard facts, this section is your jam. We’re about to go all Sherlock Holmes on the “money and happiness” conundrum, except our magnifying glass is peer-reviewed research.

Happiness vs. Income: Is There a Correlation?

Let’s cut to the chase: Multiple studies suggest that, yes, there is a positive correlation between income and happiness up to a point. A highly-cited study by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton from Princeton University found that people’s emotional well-being increases with income up to about $75,000 annually.

After that, any extra cash doesn’t add to daily happiness. The study argues that income above this level doesn’t significantly impact the emotional quality of experiences.

Money’s Diminishing Returns: The Happiness Ceiling

We can’t talk about money and happiness without discussing the phenomenon of diminishing returns.

Another study published in Nature Human Behaviour examined data from over 1.7 million individuals. The ideal income point for individuals is around $95,000 for life evaluation and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being. After these points, the impact of more money on happiness is reduced, effectively hitting a ‘happiness ceiling.’

money can't buy happiness bar chart

So what does this mean in layman’s terms? Imagine your happiness as a cake. The first few layers, made up of financial security, freedom, and comfort, are necessary. But after that, piling on more and more layers doesn’t necessarily make the cake better; in fact, it might just topple over.

happiness ceiling example
Happiness Cake

These studies tell us what we probably already felt in our gut: Money matters, but it isn’t everything. Keep these facts in your back pocket the next time you’re tempted to equate your bank balance with your happiness score. And don’t forget to spread the word! Because happiness, just like a good Netflix series recommendation, is better when shared.

Tips for a Balanced Perspective

Okay, so we’ve established that money can buy you a ticket to the “Happiness Concert,” but it can’t promise you’ll enjoy the show. We’ve also pointed out the high-value stuff that’s completely off the money market. Now, what?

How do we find that elusive harmony between the Benjamins and the Zen?

Let’s get into it, shall we?

How to Seek Happiness While Earning the Bucks

Prioritize Your Needs and Desires

We all have bills to pay, but make sure to also allocate some of your income for experiences or items that genuinely make you happy.

Invest in Relationships

Budget time and sometimes even a little money for the people most matter to you. Make that phone call, go on that family picnic, or cuddle up for a movie night.

Exercise Gratitude

Take a moment to acknowledge what you’re grateful for every day. This can rewire your brain to focus on what you already have rather than what you want to buy next.

Engage in Non-Materialistic Activities

Go for a hike, read a book, or volunteer. Sometimes, the most enriching experiences are free.

Set Boundaries at Work

All work and no play makes anyone a dull human. Make sure to carve out time for leisure and self-care. Your work email can wait; your happiness shouldn’t have to.

Financial Mindfulness

Be conscious of your spending. Before you splurge, ask yourself, “Is this really going to add to my long-term happiness?”

Seek Professional Guidance

Whether it’s financial planning or a wellness coach, sometimes seeking professional advice can help align your monetary and happiness goals.

Share the Wisdom: Your Sister, Neighbor, or Barista Needs This Too

Girl, if you’ve made it this far, you’re clearly onto something. And remember, wisdom is like guacamole—meant to be spread (though thankfully, wisdom doesn’t come with an extra charge).

So go ahead, spill the beans to your sister struggling with work-life balance, your neighbor who’s always chasing the next big thing, or even your barista who listens to your half-awake rambles every morning.

It’s empowering to share insights that can truly make a difference in someone’s life. In the spirit of community and sisterhood, let’s lift each other and make this journey toward balanced happiness a collective one.

Feel ready to tackle life with a fresh perspective?

Share these tips because happiness should never be a solo act.

Case Studies

Women Who Found Happiness Through Financial Freedom

Feeling the weight of skepticism? Don’t just take my word for it. Let’s talk about real women who’ve found their slice of happiness by achieving financial freedom.

Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx

Sara started with just $5,000 and a disruptive idea. Today, she’s a billionaire and credits her happiness to the freedom and choices her financial status affords her. She has built a successful company and has the means to spend quality time with her family and contribute to causes she cares about. For Sara, money was a tool that enabled a well-rounded, fulfilling life.

Aisha, a Single Mom, and Entrepreneur

Aisha spent years juggling multiple jobs while raising her children. After taking a leap of faith and starting her own business, she eventually reached a point where she didn’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.

Now, this woman entrepreneur relishes the freedom to attend every soccer game and school event. Aisha claims her newfound financial stability brings her immense happiness because it means she can be present in her children’s lives without the looming cloud of financial stress.

Laura, the Debt-Free Millennial

Struggling with student loans and credit card debt, Laura made it her mission to be debt-free by 30. She lived frugally and invested wisely. On her 30th birthday, she made her final loan payment. The relief and freedom she felt were, in her words, “priceless experiences that money did buy.”

So, if you’re wondering whether your hard-earned cash can translate into happiness, the answer is yes—up to a point. Money can be a stepping stone to better opportunities, choices, and, yes, a certain level of happiness.

Feeling inspired? Good, because this is information too good to keep to yourself. Text your work wife, call your sister, heck, even chat with your barista about it. Because when women lift each other, everybody wins.

Money’s Role in Your Happiness Quotient

The Verdict

So, can money buy happiness?

Well, it’s complicated—like trying to pick the perfect shade of red lipstick. Money can certainly buy choices, freedom, and comfort, making your life easier and more pleasurable. But when it comes to the depths of joy, the sort that fills your soul and makes life truly meaningful, money is but a single note in a much richer symphony of experiences.

If you’ve enjoyed navigating this multifaceted topic with us, we’re willing to bet you have a friend, colleague, or sister who would also benefit from these insights. So go ahead and click that share button. Pass on the wisdom, and let’s create a circle of empowered women who know their worth extends far beyond their bank accounts.

Got questions? Need some personalized guidance? We’re always here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out; we’re only a click away.

Now that you have a well-rounded perspective on money and happiness, why not continue the exploration? Check out our other articles for more empowering and practical life advice. Because let’s face it, the quest for a fulfilling life is a story that deserves more than one chapter.

Feeling empowered? We hope so!

Share the love, wisdom, and, most importantly, the journey toward balanced happiness.

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