• Habit Examples
  • Posts
  • 💰 How money CAN buy happiness (it’s not what you think)

💰 How money CAN buy happiness (it’s not what you think)

and how to extract the most happiness from it


⚡️ Estimated read time: 2 minutes 34 seconds.


What would you do with a million dollars?

The Barenaked Ladies (an actual band of 6 very clothed men) released a song back in 1988 answering this exact question.

It’s basically from the soundtrack of my childhood (thanks dad), and details quite the shopping list:

  • A house

  • A chesterfield, or an ottoman

  • A K-car (cause they’re reliable)

  • A tree fort

  • A tiny fridge (for the fort)

  • Pre-wrapped sausages (for the fridge)

  • A fur coat (but not a real one)

  • A llama (or an emu)

  • John Merrick’s remains (don’t Google that)

  • A limo

  • Kraft dinner (lots of it)

  • Expensive Ketchups (maybe dijon)

  • A green dress (but apparently not a real green dress?)

  • A Picasso or Garfunkle

  • A monkey.

Based on Andrew Barr’s caculations, that bag of money couldn’t afford the same shopping spree in 2024. (Shocker!)

But way more importantly…

Based on best-selling author Sonja Lyubomirksy’s calculations, the big things we wish we could buy are almost always guaranteed not to make us a happy.

She lays out a similar scenario:

“What if seventy-five thousand dollars suddenly fell out of the sky and onto your fortunate head?

How should you spend the money to maximize the happiness that you will obtain from it?”

When my wife and I were in college, we didn’t have much money (despite working 5 jobs between the two of us at one point).

So when we’d receive birthday money from parents, we’d often splurge on new clothes or a pair of headphones.

But after reading Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness, I wanted to try something different.

She talks about how frequent positive emotions do more for your happiness than big positive emotions.

For example, one thing we never had much money for was dates.

So I took $200 I’d received, and decided to split it into 4 different dates where we could spend about $50 on activities and food. (This was a big deal for us)

For one date, we went to an arcade and got my favorite corn dogs afterward.

For another, we pieced together our dinner by stopping at all our favorite restaurants. (Entre from Panda Express, fries from Five Guys, drink from Jamba Juice, and a whole different lineup for my wife’s meal)

To this day, those dates are some of our absolute favorites we’ve ever been on.

They weren’t fancy or extravagant - but they were creative, fun, and frequent.

It’s easy to think of big things we want.

A Tesla. A major home remodel. A massive shopping spree.

But what if spending the same money on small things over time made you 100x happier than the big ones?

I’m here to tell you our $200 spent on 4 dates certainly delivered 100x the joy and memories that a new pair of headphones would have.

So… what will you do the next time you end up with some extra cash?

Hit reply and let me know! :)


animated divider


Try it

Next time you end up with birthday money (or a hefty tax return!) make a plan to spend it on small, but frequent things you’ll enjoy.

Especially if those are things you wouldn’t normally spend the extra money on, like:

  • Weekly massage

  • Regular visits to that fancy sushi restaurant

  • Going to the nicer movie theater (and getting concessions)

  • (What else am I missing from this list? Hit reply and let me know!)

Then notice how the frequent joys feel different than how you may have spent your money in the past!



🎶 I’m ‘bout to have a GOOD DAY. (song)

💰 My friend Zac asked a multi-8-figure entrepreneur how to balance family and business. This was his answer. (Tweet)

🤣 The funniest SNL skit ever (YouTube)

🪞 5 mirror reflections to start your day. (Tweet)

📣 Bryan’s giving away a shoutout to 230,000 entrepreneurs. (Free contest)

❤️ What if being an amateur is a good thing? (Instagram)

🎹 Charlie Puth’s secret to writing endless hits. (Habit Example from one year ago)



*watching Disney’s Cars*

My 5-year-old: Dad, can I just tell you something??

I just wish that red car could be part of our family.

He’s just so cool!



animated divider


What did you think about today’s Habit Example?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


- Kody


profile pic


P.S. This took 5 hours to research, write, and design. It only takes you 5 seconds to share.