For years and years, I’ve been writing about saving money. Save money, invest money, say hello to financial freedom.
I still believe in all of that. The math checks out. People have done it.
When you put aside money and math, there’s this thing called life. As a personal finance blogger, I focus on writing about the money and math towards financial freedom.
Since you are reading this, I’m going to presume you focus on financial freedom too.
What if we took a break from the money and math? What if we focused on a different M-word… “moderation”?
Yesterday, Joe from Retire by 40 wrote about his expensive artwork. As I was reading it, I felt almost like he was being apologetic for his splurge years ago. It also felt like he was trying to justify it.
Maybe I read it wrong. Maybe I superimposed some of my own thoughts into the article.
Whatever the reason, it made me think, “Let’s look at the big picture here.”
If you are meeting most of your financial goals, perhaps it’s worth setting aside some money each year to create a “happiness fund.”
My “happiness fund” would be about no-questions-asked spending. The more frivolous the better (as long as it stays in the budget.)
Why not put a ball pit in your house?
Well, we did it. We put a ball pit in our house. pic.twitter.com/8wztWkDt8M
— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) December 17, 2017
My “happiness fund” this year went to buying a ridiculously expensive television. I’m not sure it was “ball pit happiness” but I do enjoy it. I’m certainly “happy” that I didn’t pay the $7,000 – $10,000 that it cost in the past.
“How much should I put in my happiness fund?”
I tried to come up with some kind of formula of what would be responsible. I couldn’t come up with a good guideline. At first, I thought it should be a percentage of your net worth, but then I figured it very small or even negative for some people. Then I thought it could be a percentage of your annual income. This is more promising, but it doesn’t edge cases like Joe who could make nothing this year and still be fine financially overall.
Finally, I realized that like most things in personal finance… a happiness fund is personal.
It doesn’t make sense for me to tell you how much to put in it any more than it does to tell you what to spend it on.
Instead, let’s flip this question around. Leave me a comment below about how much you put in your happiness fund and what you are spending it on. You might want to leave a good email address, because I plan on surprising at least one commenter with $25 towards that happiness fund.