You are what you earn – lessons in self-confidence, motherhood and money

They say money can’t buy happiness but they’re wrong. While I have no doubt the big things aren’t commodities you can purchase (meaningful relationships, inner peace, contentment etc), I also know that having enough money for the basics does, unquestionably, make life less stressful.

It’s easy to say “money doesn’t buy happiness” when you’ve never had to worry about where your next meal is coming from. But where’s the line between basics and luxuries? And what’s the link between how much you earn and how good you feel about yourself? This is where money lessons and parenting get tricky, in my experience.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a kick from shopping trips that weren’t done on a budget, when I can afford posh olives from the deli counter and the hummus with the caramelised onions. Granted, these things might not be the answer to ever-lasting happiness, but being able to afford them gives me a little boost, a pick-me-up on a bad day.

Getting serious though, the idea that money and happiness are linked is backed up by plenty of research. Or, possibly, more accurately – a link between a lack of money and unhappiness. According to The Samaritans, suicide rates are twice as high in deprived areas, with poor mental health being a real equality issue.

“Struggling to get by on a low income can lead to stress, and worrying about finances can affect mood, sleep, eating habits and the quality of your relationships, all of which are important factors in mental health,” psychologist Honey Langcaster-James is quoted as saying in a recent Metro article on the subject. [Read More…]

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