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Leanne Macardle

Freelance Contributor
Published: 13/10/2017
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How much do you need to be truly 'cash happy'? It may be less than you think, with research from SunLife showing that you don't have to be a millionaire to be happy; you just need an extra £82 a week.

Spare cash = happiness

The report found a strong link between happiness and how much spare cash we have, i.e. how much we have left over at the end of the month after paying for all regular outgoings, with this having a far more positive effect than income. However, while happiness does indeed increase with spare cash, this pattern can only be seen up to a certain point, after which it starts to slow down.

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife, explains: "Our research shows a strong link between happiness and spare cash – stronger than the link between happiness and income – and the good news is, you really don't need to be a millionaire to be happy; the happiest households have £194 spare per week, which per person, is £82."

This is above the amount of spare cash the average person has, which clocks in at £44 per week, but it shows that you don't need thousands of extra pounds to be happy – just an extra £38 a week, or little more than £5 a day. "This may sound like a lot, but when you think that buying a takeaway coffee and sandwich every day costs around £5, it doesn't sound quite so challenging," said Ian.

Savvy spenders

Interestingly, what you choose to spend that spare cash on can also have a marked impact on your happiness. The research found that 55% of respondents would save at least some of the cash they have left over in a dedicated savings account, while 39% would spend it on holidays and 33% would treat themselves to some clothes. Another 29% would go to the cinema or a restaurant, and 27% would spend some of it on a day out, and in many cases, spending money on experiences rather than material things leads to the happiest of households.

However, not everyone has quite as much money left over to spend on such things. Indeed, 5% of households live completely beyond their means and end the month between £0 and £100 in the red, while 21% owe even more than that. Then there are the 12% who are 'just about managing' with between £1 and £200 left over each month, but happily, the greatest proportion are 'comfortable' with between £201 and £800 spare.

After that there are the 'well-off' who have between £801 and £2,000 left over, and a particularly lucky 13% are classed as affluent, with more than £2,000 spare cash each month. Do you need to work on giving your spare cash funds a boost? If so, start taking action!

Make saving a priority

It's all about taking a close look at your budget. Think about what you're spending each month, and go through your bank balance to see if there are any areas where you could cut back. Forgoing the daily coffee and shop-bought sandwich could be all you need to be cash happy, and if you put it in a savings account, you could be even happier as you watch the balance edge up!

This is where an easy access savings account could come in, or you may want to opt for a regular savings account to get you in the habit. However you go about it, start by making a few small changes to your daily life, and you could end up cash-happier than you think.


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