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10 ideas to make money matter less

I saw a lot of people grow up with very little money. Yet they were some of the happiest people I have ever seen.

They were fiercely passionate about their careers and competitive in nature. They were certainly comfortably rich, but money was not the first thing you noticed when you saw them.

Once we make enough money for ourselves and put some away for the future, it’s time to focus on other things — the things that could bring you real happiness that money alone can’t buy. If you have enough money and you are still spending all your time thinking about money, then something is wrong.

Here are some things we all could focus on to make money matter a little less.

1. Passions

Take time to think about what really matters to you, if you’re blessed enough to not worry about making ends meet. Have you always wanted to be a dancer? A singer? Go for it. Nurturing deep-rooted passions and fulfilling little dreams go a long way to making you happy.

2. People and relationships

Choose a few people and relationships that really matter to you and nurture them very deliberately. Take time to be thoughtful and be there for the people that need you. Relationships are one of the few things all the money in the world cannot buy.

3. Travel

Take time to travel (which doesn’t always have to be expensive). It doesn’t matter where you go; just take the time to visit a couple of places every year. Live with the local people, eat their food and learn about their customs. You can buy these kinds of experiences for a lot of money, but what you’ll need more than anything is an open mind.

4. Causes

Volunteering is a great way to help people or a cause that makes a global difference. There is so much joy in making a difference and connecting with people over a cause you both feel strongly about. Today, with the Internet and social media, there are more ways than ever to support the causes you feel strongly about.

5. The earth

Focus on saving the earth for our children. Educate your family and your community. Learn how to save the earth, and work towards it. It is a BIG cause that can use all the help in the world.

Photo by alwaysbecool

6. Books

Read. Read a whole lot. Read with your kids. Read before bed and read when you wake up.

The best years of my life were my years from graduate schoo, when I read day in and day out without a worry in the world. I dreamed up books and stories every minute. It was quite a life.

7. Happiness

Examine your life and think about what little things make you happy. There are some things that I do not want to miss – that I will not trade anything for – such as spending precious time with my kids when they need me. You don’t need money to focus on what makes life so sweet.

8. The body

Money is worth nothing if we get sick, so focus on your health while you are well. Take baby steps to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Bad habits are very expensive, so develop good habits while you can.

9. The mind

Like the body, our mental health is increasingly important — especially these days when the economy isn’t the best and people are more stressed than ever before. Meditation, a few minutes of yoga, and good posture cost absolutely no money.

10. Celebrations

Do you have a whole lot of love in your life? Celebrate it. Did you achieve a little something today? Take time to reward yourself. Uncelebrated moments slip away. The more you celebrate the little things, the less money seems to matter.

Are you at a spot where you are financially comfortable? What do you focus on to add richness in your life? Even if you’re not financially independent, what do you do to add richness to your daily life?

by Maya

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Amber

    Yes, great post. What I’m really dying to know is if it’s a boy or a girl, regarding the maternity leave???? Every day I hope that you will tell us. Please, please?


  2. L.

    > Money is worth nothing if we get sick, so focus on your health while you are well.

    You mean except that illness can bankrupt us if we have inadequate health insurance, right?

  3. L.

    Y’all had me until this post.

    Seriously? I don’t need ideas on how to enjoy my life when all the bills are paid, the gas tanks are full, the groceries are bought, and there is still money left over. You know why? Because it doesn’t happen here.

    Travel? Riiight. Might as well plan a trip to Mars.

    “Once we make enough money for ourselves and put some away for the future…” I would guess that for many of us, we’re not at this point yet. But thanks for reminding me how the other half lives.

  4. Rachel

    I liked this post, but perhaps instead of titling it “10 Ideas to Make Money Matter Less,” you should have titled it “10 Ideas to Make Materialism Matter Less.” Obviously, money is necessary. No rational person would argue otherwise. But materialism isn’t.

    As for the comment that this is advice is “unrealistic” for a lot of people, I disagree. OK, so traveling is out if the family budget is tight, but what about reading (#6)? Doesn’t cost a cent at the local library. Interested in developing a passion (#1) but can’t afford lessons? Post a barter ad on craigslist. Maybe you have a skill someone else is interested in.

    Many of these ideas could be done for free, if you get creative about it.

  5. Amylouise

    I’m with L. on this one. If the premise is, “once you have all your material needs met like food and living then all you need to focus on are the spiritual things,” then “duh.” I’m living below the poverty line and still focusing on my children and relationships and exercise. I would have more time and energy for what you listed on your post if we weren’t also scrambling to survive. Plus, I’ve got some embroidery project ideas and sewing a shirt for my son with Transformer fabric that I got sale to do. Well, I shouldn’t have taken the time to read this, I have some weeding do in the garden -and while I do like “connecting with the earth” and being out in the fresh air and any romantic spin to put on it, those are just perks to getting the food that I really need from my garden. My best to you, didn’t mean to be negative. L. was right. tada

  6. Maya

    Thanks for your comments. I agree with Racheal about the title – we should probably change it.
    But to the others, an with all due respect, I grew up seeing people in absolute poverty be happy in everyday life – including a maid we had for 15 years who was bringing up 3 of her kids all by herself. We had more money than her but she was clearly a happier person – she saw joy where we did not.
    Most of the lessons I learned there was that we all are a lot less happier in life than we could actually be. My 5 cents 🙂

  7. Laura

    As far as the idea of travel goes, it is possible, even when you don’t have a lot of money. I’m a college student with extremely limited income, but my husband and I still find opportunities to travel. I think that a lot of people think travel has to be a big thing, like going to Europe or to the Bahamas, but it really doesn’t have to be. We like to go camping- even if you don’t go far, you can still experience a different way of looking at life, just for a night. Find out what state and national parks are nearby and plan a weekend trip! If you bring things for meals and camp in tents, it doesn’t have to cost much at all. I grew up hardly ever going to hotels, and I never left the country until high school, but I still feel like a well-traveled person, because of the places my family drove to and camped.

  8. Sarah Clachar

    I agree with the need to change the title or the premise because it does seem like it’s written for rich people – not people struggling to make a dollar stretch. That being said, we’ve lived for years on tight tight budgets and lived rich!

    What do I mean? By developing creativity, self-sufficiency and resourcefulness we not only derived a lot of satisfaction out of each day but money became less important (although it still was nice to have and get more as our income grew!)

    Every day we found ways to remind ourselves and our kids that even though we shopped at thrift stores and watched every penny we had more wealth than most people. We had clean air, safety, time together as a family, good health and food on the table every day. Compared to how most of the world lives – this is wealth beyond belief!

    Finally, health is indeed wealth – sure health problems come up out of the blue but 9 times out of 10 times it’s from our lifestyle choices. And no money – no matter how good your insurance or big your bank account – can buy a healthy heart after a heart attack or reverse diabetes. Sure, insurance buys crisis interventions but no real cures. That comes from prevention and common sense living.

  9. L.

    Perhaps my earlier comments were misunderstood. My issue was never with finding ways to bring more joy and fulfillment to one’s life. To that I say a big “Amen!”

    My focus is on making a good life for my family and myself, no matter what my checkbook says. And I would say I’m pretty damn successful at it.

    Here was my issue with this article:

    I know so many families struggling every single day just to keep their heads above water. They are losing their jobs. They are losing their homes. They are filing for bankruptcy. Yet I am watching those same people successfully raise their families, enjoy their marriages, and find their own personal joy – despite the hell they are going through. Now *that* is the kind of inspiration we need. Given the state of the average family today, it seems to me a bit silly and self-indulgent to publish an article on how to enjoy the fact that one is comfortably off. Like Amylouise so eloquently put it, “Duh.”

  10. mominthecity

    great and interesting post, to keep in mind, even if I think that money doesn’t make us happy, neverthless it helps a lot!!!! to feel less anxious about the future for instance …

  11. Kristy

    Good thoughts. Doesn’t the good life always seems to come down to quality over quantity and people over possessions?!

  12. Blog

    I’m pretty sure this is the life that most are striving towards. I agree, you can still be happy without having a money, though you certainly won’t have the time/money for the above. The thing is that money related stress is a huge burden in many people’s lives. It’s a sad reality.

  13. Dana @ MFCK

    I love these ideas, so simple and so important but often forgotten., a daily health & environmental news site, just posted something on ways to save time, money and effort doing laundry. Great tips here that line up well with your article! Check it out:

  14. SPENDaholic

    It’s funny how most of these things tie in with each other. If you exercise and feel great, it will strengthen your body and mind. As such, you’ll have the energy available to pursue other endeavors or read and learn more about yourself and the world. The odds that you find something you are passionate about will definitely grow until you find something that truly makes you happy.

  15. sandra seeves

    To have real JOY, think of Jesus, others and yourself. In that order. You always need to come third, otherwise you won’t have real joy in you.

  16. froiline

    I love your post, everything is well laid.

  17. Pia

    1. Passion really hit me hard and knocked me off from my insecurities… thanks for this post, really lifted me up this day. i hope others will read this post also, i am going to share this for sure.

  18. nikkilao

    Wow very amazing article you give me an idea on how to enjoy life in much cheaper way around. this wont stress me much pushing myself to work hard. Thank you for your article.

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