Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware #3: Money and happiness

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 03-20-2013 02:21 AM 1771 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Pain pain pain Part 3 of Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware series Part 4: Label - retentive »

First, the caveat:

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about woodworking, trying to make sense of what it is that has always drawn me to it. I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.

My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late. (If you’re reading this Monte – you caught me)

If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.

10:45 This seems to be the witching hour for me.
I’ve been thinking about money lately, in particular the expression ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’. I tend to disagree. Money doesn’t guarantee happiness, that, I’ll concede, but it sure does help avoid problems and headaches that can keep you from being happy. I don’t know if I agree with the statement that money is the root of all evil either. I think greed is the root of that particular brand of evil.

I’ve found that the people who are the most happy with their financial situations have been worse off at some point.
Let’s be clear, there are a lot of miserable rich people. They’d be miserable, rich, poor, alive and dead. Money doesn’t fix miserable. There are also a lot of miserable poor people. Some of them are miserable because they always have been and always will be miserable. Some are miserable, because they’re exhausted, discouraged, frustrated and beaten down by financial difficulties.

I’m not talking about the happiness that comes from having a good laugh with your family at the supper table, or the happiness that comes from a goofy dog slobbering on your slippers.
Maybe the word I’m looking for is comfort.
This is starting to sound materialistic. I suppose that’s true.

Let me put it this way – I have a family. I’d give everything away if that’s what I needed to do to keep them safe and healthy. I also don’t think they need everything that we can afford to buy.
But I’m very happy that I can buy them the things they need without worrying or fretting.
If my kids need school supplies, we buy them school supplies. If they outgrow their jeans, we can buy them new ones (or new-to-them because I don’t consider brand-name and brand-new to be a need).

I’ve had a job or jobs since before I was old enough to officially have one. I paid my own way through university. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I think I was 32 before I paid the last of my loans.
I’ve never gone hungry, but I know that feeling of wondering if you have enough to pay the rent on time. Or walking, not because you want fresh air (that’s what you tell your friends) but you’ve nothing left for bus fare.
I’ve lived in a rooming house where the bathroom was down the hall and I was the only female.

Once, when I was in my early 20s, I was in a particularly bad spot financially. It took every ounce of courage I had, but I finally asked an older friend of mine if she would lend me $250.00. I was completely mortified. I used the money to cover my rent and I paid her back within a month by taking extra shifts at work. I’ve never forgotten that kindness or the shame I felt having to ask.

So does money buy happiness? In some ways it does. But maybe that’s only for those who know what it’s like to have none, or who don’t lose sight of how lucky they are.

Last night I placed an order at Lee Valley for the hardware for my workbench. A need? Definitely not. I’ve had those items in my online basket for awhile, but felt bad spending that kind of money on drawer slides. Will we have to go without groceries because of it? No. Will I feel happy when that box arrives? You bet your bottom dollar I will. Some of you may be thinking that it’s temporary happiness and that it will pass, and maybe I’ll be written off as shallow, but I can assure you that I’ll feel happiness each and every time I use my someday completed workbench. I’ll also experience great happiness building it.

Yes, perhaps the best things in life are free, but they are much easier to enjoy when all your energy isn’t spent on making ends meet. There, I think I summed up what I’ve been trying to say. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure prevents a lot of headaches.

Money doesn’t fix stupid either, I suppose I should add that in. There’s a show on TV about lottery wins changing people’s lives. Duh. Stupid people who win a lot of money are just rich and stupid. But take someone with solid morals and values and a good work ethic, and give them a pile of money and I think they would tell you that it helped their happy-meter. I’d like to think so.

I didn’t win an actual lottery, but I’m living a lifestyle that 90some % of the world’s population could never imagine living. So I guess being born in a country where I could get an education that led to a job that led to a paycheque that led to the house that has food and a fridge is like winning the lottery.
And I’m pretty happy about that.

11:17 There. I like money. I’ve said it. Who’s with me?

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

16 comments so far

View boxcarmarty's profile


17159 posts in 2838 days

#1 posted 03-20-2013 02:28 AM


-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2553 days

#2 posted 03-20-2013 02:33 AM

Unfortunately, or fortunately I’m a fast typist.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30427 posts in 2816 days

#3 posted 03-20-2013 02:38 AM

I will never be rich. I bust my butt to make money so that I can have a comfortable life. Does money buy happiness? No. But misery is very likely without a n adequate amount of it.

You manage to state what most of us feel in our hearts, but are unable to say it for ourselves. I for one appreciates your honesty.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2553 days

#4 posted 03-20-2013 02:40 AM

I don’t know about that Monte – you managed to say in 2 lines what it took me a half hour to say ;)

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View boxcarmarty's profile


17159 posts in 2838 days

#5 posted 03-20-2013 02:47 AM

Monte, reading yours didn’t wear me out. I’m just saying…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2553 days

#6 posted 03-20-2013 02:50 AM

Could be worse, imagine listening to it….
(reading Marty’s mind = “her pooooor husband”)

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View boxcarmarty's profile


17159 posts in 2838 days

#7 posted 03-20-2013 02:55 AM

Sandra, You’re like a lost puppy dumped on the doorstep. We can’t help but luv ya…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2553 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 03:04 AM

Gee thanks. I think.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3092 days

#9 posted 03-20-2013 04:15 AM

Sandra money could make me happy ,give me a mill and ill laught all the way to the bank ,you know the bible dont say money is evil , the love of it is , i allways feel better with some cash in my pocket ,its just im so sad today :) lol

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 4412 days

#10 posted 03-20-2013 05:24 AM

What a good reflection on the nature of happiness with and without wealth! As I read it, I thought of this quote, attributed to several different people: “I’ve been poor, and I’ve been rich. Rich is better!” Some say it was Sophie Tucker that said it, but it’s not clear.

Anyway, my thought is that money is a tool. Some people have none, and are happy without it, and as you said, some people are rich and miserable. If what you have in your heart makes you happy, then you can use money toward externalizing that. If you are unhappy in your heart, no amount of money will fix that.

Keep writing. You have a gift for externalizing your introspection, and I enjoy reading your thoughts.

-- Robb

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 3291 days

#11 posted 03-20-2013 06:14 AM

Money does buy happiness…there is no disgrace in admitting it. It is the wise that know how to use it for happiness.

“Being poor is no disgrace, but it is sure damn inconvenient.” -Gene Starkey.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8547 posts in 2460 days

#12 posted 03-20-2013 10:40 AM

More stuff we have in common:
- Worked our way through college. For me, a basketball scholarship helped a lot, but it was work!
- Pretty open about money. Got nothing to hide. We worked for it. That’s why I’m up at 5am even though I don’t have to be.
- Placing a Lee Valley order soon. And yes its fun having a little extra jingle;-)

And yes, it’s the LOVE of money that’s evil.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3563 days

#13 posted 03-20-2013 02:09 PM

Money is nice when used correctly, I am going to help a friend glue up a 3” thick by 30” wide maple workbench
top Friday with his son helping. He has a bad back and heart problems, but he has a shop and the fact that
his son will be helping will mean way more than the fact that he is finally getting that bench built in his big
shop. We are both comfortable and have pinched pennies in the past, but I agree with your statements.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View DIYaholic's profile


19848 posts in 3153 days

#14 posted 03-20-2013 04:04 PM

Truer words have not been typed!!!

Although, I’ve heard it said; “It is the LACK of money, that is the root of all evil!!!

There is not much I could add to this, as you have expressed it so well!!! Please continue to blog your “Deep Thoughts”....
I find your insights and outlook thought provoking and a compelling read!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View willoworks's profile


41 posts in 3029 days

#15 posted 03-20-2013 06:11 PM

People tease me because I always keep things in my shopping carts at lots of stores. At some point I’ll decide it is what I truly need but most will be abandoned because they were frivolous whims and not something I needed. I think that is truly the core of it – wants vs. needs.

-- Turning A Round

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