We’ve just entered 2013 and many New Year’s resolutions may still be well intact, but whether you start today or in a few months, it’s never too late to resolve to get happy about our finances. At least that’s what Money magazine would like us to do.
It’s no secret that money is a huge source of stress to individuals, couples and families alike. But according to recent research examining the connection between money and mood, there are six steps to easing some of that stress and working toward financial happiness. Take a look:
- Several small indulgences will make us happier than a few large ones. Money magazine encourages us to skip the big-ticket purchases and spread smaller ones out over time. One of their examples: Instead of dinner and a show each week, go out to dinner one weekend and then to the theater the next.
- Slowly pay off credit card debt. It can be easier to stick to a monthly budget, which includes paying toward that credit card debt, rather than focusing on the big dollar sign in front of the debt total.
- Save for a rainy day. I’m happy to report that my husband and I already do exactly what Money magazine suggests in this arena: We take tax return money, reimbursement checks for company trips and other small chunks of money and put them into a joint savings account.
- Take a vacation. You’ve earned the days at work, so use them. Plus, looking forward to time away–and coming back rested and reenergized–is good for anyone’s happiness levels.
- Speaking of work, is it time to find a new job? If you’re getting paid to do a job, make sure you’re doing work that is meaningful to you and that you’re doing it with people you get along with.
- Finally, give your money away. According to Money magazine and the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, those who donate to their favorite charities are 43 percent more likely to say they’re very happy about their lives than those who don’t.