“This money vs. happiness thing is the biggest concept I’ve had to grasp since leaving school.”

Bryn Mawr College Fairytale Castle

The other night, I watched a movie called Overboard. It’s a silly little Rom-Com in which a billionaire playboy loses his memory and is tricked into becoming the provider for a poor family. Far-fetched, right? But stay with me.

In the end, the man has to choose between returning to his old life of riches or staying with the family he’s grown to love. While a bit extreme, it’s a good example that money doesn’t always equal happiness.

As I’m sure you know, we have to choose between money and happiness all the time. In my two years out in the “real” world I’ve had to make that choice a bunch of times. I chose between money vs. happiness when I decided between jobs, when I volunteered to work extra hours, and when I stayed at a job I didn’t love. If you reflect on your life choices, I’m sure you’ll see a lot of places where you chose between the two.

I’m writing this post to address the mental wellness aspect of money. While we may sometimes choose paychecks over day-to-day satisfaction OR budgeting over drinks with friends, we need to make sure we aren’t causing ourselves too much stress and frustration. After all, our lives are made up of our day-to-day experiences. If you’re miserable all the time in order to save up for that “one day” when you can have comfort and contentment, is it really worth it?

Is it really worth it?

Now, that is the question.

Of course it’s not cut and dry all the time; you can sometimes be lucky enough to have both – love your high-paying job, love the rich person you marry, be very cozy in your small home, etc. Those lucky ducks.

But I have a couple questions below to help you decide. Because these are NOT easy decisions. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there.


  1. Is the money literally necessary?

In other words, will you be out of house and home, with no food or clean water, devoid of your basic human needs? Are you a provider and have others depending on your paycheck? If you have little to no savings and would be in a dire situation if you were to say, quit your mind-numbing/evil coworker-filled/crazy Michael Scott boss-run job, then maybeee don’t. The money is literally necessary in this situation. Work on building up a cushion of savings first, and then high-tail it out of there.


  1. Why else you do you want the money?

If the money is not critical to your living situation, what’s your motivation for choosing it? Are you saving up for something? Trip to Neverland? Big ole’ mansion? Tattoo of your pet hamster? Trendy designer clothes? You little fashionista.

We all have things we want. Mine just happens to be 10 more cats. But we can’t always have what we want. So think about if you really need it.


Think of it this way:

Yes, it would be really nice if I had (insert your expensive dream here). And I could certainly save up for 10 more cats. And I would be really happy with my 10 more cats. But…do I really need 10 more cats? And will I be happy everyday if I take an extra job and work 60 hours a week as an accountant and pizza delivery person in order to have 10 more cats?


No! Not worth it! Choose the happiness (in this case more free time at home to hang with my one cat) instead of the money!

Yes! Well it’s gonna be a lil bit of a rocky road for a while, but I have a clear goal. Every day I will wake up with this goal in mind and it will get me through! CATS!


This money vs. happiness thing is the biggest concept I’ve had to grasp since leaving school. I chose a major that wasn’t particularly lucrative. But I’ll admit, I still had my eye on advancing to something more profitable. Now I’ve changed my mind. I know that even if I were to climb the ranks, I wouldn’t like my day-to-day. And what kind of life would that be? So I’m choosing another direction. I’m choosing happiness.

I only hope that as the years go by, your decisions led you to the things that made daily life enjoyable. Because even if you’re exercising every day and eating a healthy diet, those are only two of the things that make your life healthy. Being able to enjoy a typical day is a HUGE part of creating a healthy, fulfilling life.