Save for retirement now. Work two jobs. Never spend more than a third of your income on rent. There’s plenty of advice out there on how to increase your wealth, but you’ve probably never heard the simplest and most effective tip.
Be grateful. When you’re thankful for what you currently have, it’s much more likely you’ll accrue more money later down the road. While it might sound strange, plenty of research has linked higher levels of gratitude with increased wealth. But how exactly does that work? Let’s break it down.
Gratitude Lessens Your Need for Materialism
Do you feel a constant pull to buy something new? Does the latest-and-greatest gadget always catch your eye? Do you feel more successful when you have more things? Yep, that’s materialism at its finest.
The tricky part about materialism is that it tends to breed low levels of satisfaction in people who use it to measure their level of happiness. Countless studies have proven that accumulating objects, such as cars or expensive clothing, doesn’t lead to a sustained sense of well-being. In fact, people who are more materialistic have been shown to experience more negative emotions, such as anxiety and depression.
When you train yourself to be more grateful, the need for accumulating more material things drops significantly. Simply appreciating what you have and measuring your happiness based on the good things currently in your life will elevate your overall satisfaction.
Being Thankful for What You Have Saves You Money
So how does this translate to the financial realm? Materialistic people are notorious over-spenders. When you constantly crave new products, it’s easy to push your budget aside to soothe your dissatisfaction with more stuff. If you measure your happiness through the relationships you have and the experiences you partake in, it’s much more likely that you won’t go into debt over items you don’t really need.
Even though it might seem like you absolutely must have the latest smartphone, try to thoroughly assess the reason why you want to make a big purchase. Is it because your phone broke three weeks ago and you need to communicate with multiple clients every day for your job? Or is it because the sleek packaging and fun commercials reeled you in hook, line, and sinker?
To lessen the strain on your wallet, be grateful for what you have. Practice thoughtful reflection before splurging on a big purchase, and try cultivating your relationships with friends and family to reach a higher level of satisfaction—and wealth.
Spend Wisely to Increase Wealth
Apart from preventing you from indulging in retail therapy, gratitude also helps guide your decisions when it comes time to spend the money you’ve saved. There’s nothing wrong with stashing away all your Benjamins, but what’s the point of accumulating wealth and never using it?
When you’re grateful for things in your life other than material goods, you’ll have a clearer head when you need to make significant purchases. Imagine that you’re buying a new kitchen table. Instead of opting for the gorgeous mahogany table, you choose the pretty but practicable oak table. Why? You know the experiences around that table are what matter, not necessarily the table itself.
Gratitude helps you see past material objects as a source of happiness and understand the most they can do is complement happiness. Why worry about mucking up that beautiful table when you host raucous dinners parties on a weekly basis?
It’s one thing to know how to save money and another to know how to spend it wisely. Consistent gratitude helps you put your money to better use because you can see how it will affect the important aspects of your life. Instead of an impulse decision to comfort a short-term need, you’ll be able to understand how a purchase affects you in the long-run. So while it may not solve everything, gratitude is a great place to start if you want to get a handle on your financial health.