Be Happy, Spend Better, Save More

$100 and Smiley Face

You’ve known since childhood that money doesn’t lead to happiness—but can happiness lead to money?

Laura Vanderkam, author of the upcoming book All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending, says yes.

“Smart women figure out what, exactly, makes them happiest. They spend generously on those things but cut out the rest,” she says.

In other words, focusing on joy is a brilliant way to spend better and save more. Try this exercise:

  • Go through your receipts and bills for a day, week or month. Write down the items that trigger positive feelings—and why they make you happy.
  • Group them into categories and keep the list in your wallet. “You can remind yourself that supporting your local pizzeria owner is more in line with your values than swinging by a fast-food chain,” Vanderkam says.

Ready to become a smarter spender—and rev up your savings in the process? Check out’s “Goals” feature, which lets you set a goal and track your progress.

Send us a screen shot of your goal and you’ll get 10 entries in our Holiday of Your Dreams contest, which ends TODAY.

C’mon, get happy. Which items on your bank statement trigger joy—and which ones make you wince?