"You Don't Have To Be Rich" by Jean Chatzky 

"Comfort, Happiness and Financial Security on your Own Terms."

Money has never made a man happy yet, nor will it.  The more a man has, the more he wants.  Ben Franklin

When what we are is what we want to be, that's happiness.  Malcolm S. Forbes

Happiness is our reaction to an experience.  That reaction is temporary.

Buy This Book  I highly recommend it.

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Additional thought of Graham White in highlights.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FINANCIAL HAPPINESS

Your happiness doesn't hinge on how much you make, your happiness depends on how you handle it!

1.  Get Organized.  

People who say they are "pretty well organized and can find what they need quickly" are happier than those who aren't and those who can't.  They're not stymied on a regular basis by frustrating losses-losses of objects, and losses of hours of their time looking for those objects.  They're not consumed by administration.  They can focus on the good stuff.

2.  Pay Bills as They Come in Rather Than all at Once.

People who pay their bills as they come in rather than stockpiling them to do once a month are happier.  Sitting down to pay the dozen or so bills all at once is pure drudgery.  It eats up a chunk of time that you'd rather spend doing just about anything else.  Moreover, watching that large sum of money fly out of your hands can be an emotional drain.  Do it in bits an pieces, however, and it's far less overwhelming in terms of time-and your bottom line.

3.  Keep Track of Your Spending

If you don't know where your money goes you're more likely to be unhappy.  Save your receipts or don't leave home with plastic and more than $20-$40 in your pocket and try to live within those limits.  

4.  Save at Least 5% of Your Household Income

People who manage to save are happier.  Have it automatically deducted before you can spend it.  Up your contribution to 6%, then 7%, then 8%, until you reach the level that will enable you to put away enough to fund your future (aim for 20% or better).

5.  Protect Your Family (and yourself)

Purchase life insurance, disability insurance and have a current will.

6.  Minimize Credit Card Debt

Start by paying down the ones with the highest interest rate as quickly as you can.  Do without every extra you can, in the long run you will be able to afford so much more.

7.  Donate Your Time, Expertise, or Money

It will make you happy, I promise.

8.  Live Within Your Means

Don't buy all the little extras.  Eat at home and pack a lunch.  Skip the snacks or pack them with you.  Wait.....wait.....wait to spend and you'll have ten times as much to work with down the road.  It's worth it, trust me.

Don't be consumed by the desire for more.  It will never make you happy and will likely make you broke.

9.  Develop Goals and Begin Working Towards Them.

The best way to develop financial habits is to set some goals that you're working towards.  The more defined your goals are, the more motivated you will be to reach them.

10.  Communicate About Finances With Your Partner

Make sure you're making financial decisions together.  Divorce is the most expensive thing you will ever do, so don't let money issues be the cause of it.

Family #1

Makes less that $50,000 in their household, but are in control of their money.  They have adopted the following habits:

  • They have some sort of filing system in place.

  • They pay their bills as they come in rather than once a month.

  • They don't spend more than they can afford (they don't carry a credit card balance from month to month).

  • They do not often buy things they don't need.

  • They know where their money goes and don't nickle and dime themselves broke on little things.

Family #2

Earns at least $75,000 a year but they're not in control of their finances.  They have at lease a few of the following habits:

  • Their financial records and paperwork are disorganized, so they have to scramble to find what they're looking for.