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How to Be Happy with Less

We're not going to tell you money can't buy you happiness. But you can be just as happy with a lot less than you have now. Really.


  • Step 1: Assume this is as good as it gets Assume you'll never be richer. Research shows you're more apt to be content with what you have if you're not wishing and hoping and praying to get more. The more you buy into the idea that more money will make you happy, the less happy you'll be.
  • TIP: Embrace the sentiment that true happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you've got.
  • Step 2: Know the truth Don't assume that more money would make you happier. As long as the bills are getting paid, there's not much difference on the happiness scale between the rich and the rest of us.
  • Step 3: Make frugality fun Make frugality fun. Figuring out ways to save money can feel as satisfying as spending it.
  • Step 4: Think happy thoughts Think happy thoughts: People who thought about positive events in their lives for eight minutes per day for three days felt better about their lives a month later, according to a study.
  • Step 5: Focus on doing instead of spending Focus on things you can do rather than stuff you can buy. Experiences bring more pleasure than possessions, and the good feelings last longer, according to research.
  • Step 6: Go green Every time you refrain from buying something you don't need, make do with what you've got, or purchase something used, think of the good you're doing the planet.
  • FACT: Research shows that buying something doesn't make us as happy as we think it will, or for as long as we assume it will.

You Will Need

  • Acceptance
  • Frugality
  • Happy thoughts
  • Enjoyable experiences
  • Environmentalism

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