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Here's How You Can Prioritize Happiness With Less Money

June 8, 2018

I’ve always associated money with happiness. I thought that when I made more money I’d be more happy. I’d just have to hit X number and hit X salary to be the happiest version of myself. As I’ve worked in corporate structures and jobs that weren’t for me, I realized that money doesn’t necessarily equal happiness.

On April 18, 2018, I left my full-time job with a guaranteed paycheck and secured retirement savings plan. I left a wonderful job to live my passion of coaching entrepreneurial women who are ready to move toward their passions whether as a side hustle or full time.

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The choice came to me at a moment when I realized the road toward money would never lead to the road toward happy. On that day, I left my job to find my happy. My experience now is a rewarding growth process that I knew would mean less money but more happy.

You can feel both financially unstable and happy at the same time.

A rocky road can be challenging yet rewarding. Financially, I’m not necessarily on the stable route. I now am focusing on my income streams as a yoga teacher, life coach, brand influencer, and content creator. That said, it’s not like I have a steady direct deposit in my account every two weeks.

Since I’m barely over two months in, I’m still figuring it all out financially—but I have figured it out emotionally.

As I sit and write this article, I’m on the deck of my parents' Jersey home after making my midday iced matcha. It’s mid-afternoon, and it’s my favorite part of the day. I no longer dread checking my email because it’s my own work email. I no longer dread facing the next project because it’s my own project. I no longer dread looking at the time because it’s my own time. This makes me the happiest I’ve ever been and the most focused I’ve ever been at any salaried job.

Focus on making your strengths a source of income.

Instead of looking toward another job or promotion that doesn’t make me happy or highlight my skills, I’m now able to explore what makes me happy, what my natural skills are, and how I can monetize them.

As an ENFJ, I am labeled "the Protagonist," which is a natural-born leader, team player, and charismatic professional. That said, I do realize these strengths and have used them for hosting events and planning workshops for entrepreneurial women who can be just as entrepreneurial in their own businesses.

Though I'm just barely scratching the surface of my previous income at my full-time job, I will say I know there’s so much more in store because I am approaching each strength and monetizing it in a way that will eventually surpass what I’ve ever earned at a corporate job. On that end, I’ve also come to a realization about money.

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Learn to live within your means and embrace experiences over possessions.

Having a full-time job with a secure paycheck made me less cognizant of what I had to be grateful for and what I can use my money toward. Quite frankly, I took the salary I had for granted.

Making less money has been a humbling experience for me. I’m now not spending on what makes me feel good in the short term but investing in what makes me feel good in the long term. I’m now saving for travel, concerts, and other activities. I’m no longer running into shops and buying that dress just because I can afford it. I consciously make each decision with a set of questions about whether I need or want the item.

These lessons have, in turn, made me much better at cultivating existing and new relationships.

Make room for your hobbies.

This momentary dip in income has inspired me to dedicate time to my other interests. Now that I’m happier, I feel it necessary to share it with others. When I do this, I'm full of energy to host events for Self Soul Sport, a community of women I’ve founded that meets for monthly events in NYC. I can also focus more on my work as a coach and yoga instructor, helping my clients and students in the best way I can. Bringing my happiness into every aspect of what I do is a gift that I can share with others. Giving in this way is its own form of happiness.

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Say yes to the journey of living more.

I’m on a mission that I’ve never been on before. I’m on a mission to live more freely, independently, and happily. Less money has led me to a life that no longer looks for happiness in fleeting materials and depleting jobs. Of course, I still have financial goals I'd like to achieve, but this part of my life has taught me the lesson that money isn’t the answer to happiness—but maybe living with less money but more intention is a step in the right direction.

Here's how money can positively affect your happiness.

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Shanna Tyler
Shanna Tyler

Shanna Tyler is a life coach for entrepreneurial women and community founder of Self Soul Sport. Based in New York City, she is also RYT-200 certified and consults for girlboss businesses. After graduating with her B.A. in fashion merchandising from Albright College, Tyler felt called to change directions and empower women like her get unstuck and live their passion.

Tyler believes that you can do it and have it all—from pursuing a life of passion, cultivating a supportive network, and making money doing what you love. Check out her podcast here.