Five Dollar Happiness Project

Five Dollar Happiness Project

They say money can’t buy happiness. And frankly, I’ve never been a retail therapy type of girl, despite my mom teaching me at an early age: “When the going gets tough, the tough get shopping.”

Though I have always liked to splurge on little things (four dollar coffees, magazines, new books when the spirit moved me), I’ve never been great at spending money on myself, a habit that has served me particularly well now that I don’t have much to spend anyway. I am the one who can window shop to her heart’s delight and then wander around a store finding absolutely nothing when I happen to have a gift card or I’m on a mission to buy something.

I think, however, that just as all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (it’s Jack, right?), all paying-the-bills and nothing-fun-at-all-whatsoever makes Sarah a cranky girl.

I absolutely 100% stress that I believe you should be responsible when  it comes to your finances – bills need to be paid, yo – but I also believe that sometimes you need a little bit of a treat. When every dollar you make is going towards expenses you have no control over (property taxes, anyone?), sometimes you just NEED a bit of sunshine.

I decided to try to buy some happiness – and gave myself a five dollar budget to do so.

Five bucks – it’s enough to buy a little treat, but certainly not enough to break the bank. The possibilities were plenty… and so I went to the place where EVERYONE can find something on which to spend five dollars:


Only… I couldn’t.

At one point while standing in line, I picked up an issue of Cooking Light magazine. I love this magazine – gorgeous pictures, somewhat healthy recipes – win! Except… I stood in line so long that I ended up putting the $4.99 magazine back on the rack and buying only the groceries in my cart (Side note: Hooray Target, for having the cheapest cereal).

Pfft. This was gonna be harder than I thought.

In fact, I even thought to myself, Nah. It’s just not happening. I’ve scrimped and saved for too long now and now I can’t even spend my money on stupid stuff anymore.

When you think about it – that’s really not a bad thing – but for the sake of this project, for buying some happy, well… you can see how it might be a deterrent.

Saturday morning, Chris was helping me hang this cool picture thingamabobber I bought at Ikea. By helping, I mean he was doing all the work and I was pointing to where I wanted it hung up. I’d bought it awhile ago with the intent to hang some of my photographs without needing to buy frames for everything.

It occurred to me that I could probably do something similar in the hallway to hang kid art and so later on that day, I went to the hardware store.

A little wandering, a little assistance from the people in the store, and I found just what I needed: a ball of twine and a pack of screw eyes and boom. Ready to roll.

I got home and picked where I wanted the first screw to go and put it into the wall. Super easy, it just twisted right in – no tools necessary. After the first screw was in, I measured from the floor to the screw to determine the height so I could keep it consistent. I also measured from the screw to the outside wall so I could somewhat center the second screw similarly. Once I put the second screw in, I knotted some twine through the first screw then pulled it tight to the second and knotted it there as well. (The twine will slacken a bit once you hang art on it, but I’m okay with that). I brushed a bit of Mod Podge over the knots to make sure they held a little better.

Boom. Done. It was that easy.

I already had clothespins on hand and I was pretty pleased – HAPPY, even – with the results of this project. If you wanted to up your clothespin game (as I might. someday), I can see that you could maybe paint them, toss some glitter on them, or even just cover them with duct tape or washi tape.

Anyway, for just under five dollars I have a cool way to hang up all of the many things my kids bring home and I’m pretty happy about it.

SO… the challenge, if you’re willing to accept it:

If you were going to attempt to see if money (even if only five dollars) can buy happiness, what would you buy?

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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