5 Ways to Increase Happiness on a Tight Budget

in life •  last year

Price on happiness.png

A few days ago I was reminded that not all things of great value in life cost a fortune. In fact some of the most valuable assets come 100% free of charge.

Here's the story:

I woke up next to my daughter. She had been speculating about money, which she does a lot these days.

Dad, can I afford a mobile phone? she asked.

Lately, she has begun to understand the concept of money and the possibilities they bring. Her interest has let her to seek out money generating opportunities.

A couple of days ago she did, for an example, bake muffins together with my wife which she later sold to people from a little improvised muffin stand. It actually netted her a decent profit, although it certainly wasn't enough to buy her a mobile phone.

I had to tell her that her savings were far from enough to buy her a mobile phone.

Then she asked me: Isn't it weird that the small things cost the most?

It was a funny question that actually makes sense from a certain perspective. Why does a mobile phone have to be so expensive when it is so little?

An explanation of production, research and supply chain costs was not what she was asking for. It was merely a funny speculation which we both had a bit of fun contemplating.

Thinking about value

That was the end of our conversation, but it got me thinking about the elements in my life that I actually value the most. And I concluded that they all somehow were related to happiness.

From a personal perspective I cannot think of an asset worth more than happiness and that includes my own happiness and the happiness of the people I interact with.

And the good news are that Happiness doesn't have to cost anything!

So with no further ado, here are some of the techniques I use on a daily basis to improve my sense of happiness:

5 happiness improving life ingredients you can acquire free of charge!

Valuable experiences free of charge-min.png

1. Hugs

I personally love hugs! Some of the most generous huggers I know are my children. Every morning I am met with open arms as soon as they wake up. Both of them enjoy a good hug in the morning as a sort of intermediate sanctuary between dream land and real life. Those hugs give me a great foundation to built on each day feeling as an enriched man indeed.

Hugs are free and you have the power to distribute them as often as you like. Do it more often and you will enrich your own life and the lives of the lucky receivers.

I would far prefer to be in someone's arms than just in their head
― D.S. Mixell

2. Praise

I love praise! Whenever I receive praise in the comment section here on Steemit, for an example, I feel boosted by confidence and joy.

Each day we are met with opportunities to compliment each others and way too often we choose to skip on it. That is a shame because praising others lifts the moods of both sender and receiver. The value of giving should not be underestimated!

Praise is 100% free which makes it a very cost effective way to improve the lives of people around you. Actually, praise is rather unique in its value properties because it grants you the power to create value from nothing. Through praise you are generating value out of thin air! There are no loosers involved in this budget so what are you waiting for? Go out and praise where praise is due!

There are two things people want more than sex and money... recognition and praise
Mary Kay Ash

3. Creativity

I always feel totally upbeat whenever I get into a state of flow doing something creative. Personally I love writing, and I am in fact feeling awesome right now writing this.

Make sure to allocate some of your time doing what you love. Your mood and your mental health will benefit from it, and as a bonus, you might actually be able to profit from it in cold cash someday, as you improve your skills as an artist or expert.

Creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we're rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world
Jonah Lehrer

4. Smiling

I have started practicing smiling the moment I wake up in the morning. Before I even open up my eyes I start smiling, it affects my mood for the rest of day and here is why:

Smiling will increase your current sense of happiness. When you force your smiling muscles to contract you stimulate your brain's reward mechanism to a degree that would make a chocolate junkie high on envy.

smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds Sterling in cash

So whenever you feel happy, neutral or down right furious with anger - treat yourself with a little smile, it WILL increase your sense of well being!

People around you appreciate a friendly smile as well. Life changing opportunities will reveal themselves throughout your life which would otherwise be inaccessible without a little smile.

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight
Phyllis Diller

5. Presence

Nobody and least of all yourself will benefit from your halfhearted attempts. Stay present in the moment to be the best version of you and gain the biggest rewards from your participation in life.

Sometimes I find myself deeply emerged in a project with my thoughts constantly returning to a state of problem solving. In such situations I find it difficult to stay present with my family. The end result is that I am not enjoying my time and when I finally get the chance to sit down in front of the PC my lack of effort as a father/husband/friend makes me feel guilty.

When I successfully dedicate time to whatever I am currently doing, being fully present, I feel less stressful and my social skills improve.

Presence will improve your social skills and reduce stress, on top of that it doesn't cost a dime. So go ahead and put that mobile phone away, close the email application, plan ahead and allocate time for family, leisure and hobbies.

The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present
Eckhart Tolle


The most important aspects of life do not have to cost a fortune. The tiniest of actions and the simplest of habits you adopt can have huge effects on your life and greatly improve the lives of the people you interact with.

By which metrics do you measure value? Personally I find happiness to be the most valuable asset in my life - something worth striving for.

Some of the most important ingredients of a happy life happen to come free of charge. You just have to welcome them for immediate payoff.

Now tell me, what do you treasure in life that comes free of charge?

Recent posts:

Are you afraid of Bumblebees? A contemplation of life
Nostalgia & How to Make the Best of Our Time
5 Personality Traits that Define a True Steemian (and why that makes you a Pioneer)

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

I love reading your thoughtful and thought-provoking posts, ronni! You obviously put a lot of care into writing them. Your children sound like little bundles of joy. I love how little kids are so generous with hugs and smiles! And your daughter seems to have traits of entrepreneurship in her. 😊 If she's ok with buying a used mobile phone, maybe she will be able to afford one sooner than you think.

The things I treasure in life are very similar to yours - spending time with family/friends, making a positive impact in some small way, taking walks, reading. And yup, like you said, they are all FREE!


Thank you so much sizzlingmonkeys, your prasing words mean a lot to me!

I am a very fortunate man to have such sweet and loving children.
Yes an old phone might actually be within her financial means, but I am not sure I like her to have one since she is only 5 years old.. The days when our children will be glued to their phones will probably come soon enough.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Life is good.



Hi @ronni, notice I was trying to praise you for effort and not for inborn abilities, all to help promote a growth mindset! 😉

Wow, your daughter is quite a deep thinker for her tender age! I think I had a toy phone around that age - the kind whose eyes roll when you pull it around the house. Somehow I don't think your daughter will go for that, though! Come to think of it, maybe it's a good thing her earnings are not quite enough to afford a phone yet. By the time she has enough savings, maybe it'll be around the age that you'd actually want her to carry a phone with her. ☺️


:) I would always prefer that kind of praise! This just proves that it is not just a kids related strategy.

I am sure she will enjoy the phone even more if she buys it herself when she gets older!


What a wonderful lesson in entrepreneurship and money management if she buys the phone using her own hard-earned money!

That's a beautiful set of insights @ronni... it's interesting how often we learn more about life from our children than from any other source!

I am reminded of a popular bumper sticker you see here in the USA: "The best things in life are not THINGS."

I have found that to be very true.

Wonderful post. I think most people are way too focused on money because they think it will give them happiness. People focused mainly on money will watch life pass them by and will regret it later in life.


Thank you hoss403, I obviously agree. Money can be good, but cannot measure up to things like love and friendship. In my humble opinion.

Congratulations @ronni! You have completed some achievement on Steemit and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

Award for the number of comments

Click on any badge to view your own Board of Honor on SteemitBoard.
For more information about SteemitBoard, click here

If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

By upvoting this notification, you can help all Steemit users. Learn how here!