Budget for Happiness is a money owner's manual.
If you've read other personal finance literature, you'll notice one key difference about Budget for Happiness: a focus on emotions. Money and how we decide to use it is often times an emotional process as much as it is a logical one. The current literature out there doesn't reflect this, and we find it a bit tone-deaf.
Here, you'll find words that speak to you as person with thoughts, desires, impulses, and insecurities. Talking openly about how emotions factor into managing money only help us make better, not worse, decisions about our money. We think you'll come to agree.
We believe that the old adage "money can't buy happiness" didn't quite get it right. Clearly, constantly struggling to make ends meet is not a recipe for a happy life. Money can give you the space and freedom to seek happiness. It can provide the potential, quite unlike much else can.
Having the security of good savings can make the stresses of everyday problems melt away: fixing a wrecked car, providing a nice home to live in, traveling to see loved ones; when you're living paycheck-to-paycheck any one of these events becomes stressful. But all these problems can be solved by managing your money well.
Even the deeper problems, while they cannot be solved by money, can certainly be alleviated by it. Hiring high-quality therapy if you're depressed, getting care for a sick child, or losing a job can all be hard blows, but having enough money will undoubtedly make it easier.
Right now you might be thinking, "well that's nice, but I don't make very much money." Well, you're in the right place. In western society, we tend to spend money on many things that don't make our lives better. With the right perspective, techniques, and diligence, you'll find that you actually don't need to make a lot of money to live a happy, low-stress life.
This all brings us to what we call our "philosophy of money," and it's quite simple.
It's intentionally broad, but it allows us to examine important aspects of what we might consider to be a "successful life", to focus on what our definition of a successful life looks like, and then optimize for it.
As you'll find, many of us don't use our money like this. Instead, we're worried about impressing others. It's an easy trap to fall in, and I'm the first to tell you I've fallen in it. With practice, this tendency can be replaced with a focus on what brings us long-lasting happiness and fulfillment.
Throughout these pages we'll return to this philosophy often, fleshing it out further, adapting it to our own values, and using it to make important decisions.
This is not your average personal finance advice. We're not going to discuss how to pick stocks, the technical intricacies of a 401k, or how to run rental properties. This guide takes a step back to focus on how to approach managing your money in general, why you should, and what differences you can make in your life doing so. This is all the stuff about money your parents should have taught you and never did.
Why managing your money will make you happier
How to manage about your spending
How (and when) to avoid and manage debt
How to avoid to money mistakes everyone else is making
How to consider and make big purchases
How to invest for the long-term
...and most importantly: how use money to make your life better
Things you won't find here:
Get rich quick schemes — they rarely work
Pretentious jargon — we don't assume you know every term, we'll teach you along the way
Tax loopholes and advice — these can be the cherry on top, but aren't the primary way to build wealth
Now, let's get started with the foundation of a happy financial life, financial independence itself.