Happiness means different things to different people, but most of us try to fill our lives with this quality as much as possible. Of course, retailers and marketers the world over have used this basic tendency to unmercifully manipulate consumers with a promise of happiness that will come with the purchase of their products. However, everyone knows that while goods and services can certainly improve the quality of our lives, they can't really provide lasting happiness. Here are some ways that you can make yourself happier that don't cost a whole lot of money.

Board Games and Puzzles
In a world of electronic gaming, it's still fun to pull out an old board game and play it with family or friends. Monopoly, checkers, chess, Risk, Twister, Operation, Trivial Pursuit, Life and Battleship are always good for a few hours of fun once in a while. Working on a jigsaw puzzle with your family can provide a welcome break from the daily stress many people experience in life.


Exercise
Although this may sound trite, numerous studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are generally happier and more relaxed than those who don't. You don't have to pay for a gym membership in order to walk, run, jog or do push ups and sit ups. Even doing heavy household chores such as digging post holes for a fence or repairing the roof can be a good way to get a little exercise.


Gardening
Although you may need to part with a few cents in order to buy seeds, planting a garden can be a very satisfying endeavor. It also doesn't have to cost a lot because chances are you already have a lot of the tools you need in your shed or garage. Working with the soil can help you to reconnect with nature and decompress from a hard day at work. Of course, if you are able to reap a material harvest from your garden you will also be happy about the free, healthy produce that resulted from your efforts.

Finish Those Projects
It can be depressing at times when we think of all of those little things around the house or yard that we'd like to do that we just don't seem to be able to get around to. You can take some time to map out your family tree, create a scrapbook or frame some family photos. Even mundane tasks like organizing your basement or attic can help you feel like you have your life slightly more in order.


Start a Journal or Diary
Writing down your feelings and events can help you to organize your thinking and make connections about how events in your life affect how you feel and think. It can also allow you to unload unresolved stress and other issues onto paper and perhaps leave it there, if only for a while.


Adopt a Pet
Animal shelters are full of creatures that need a loving home. Of course, having a pet will entail some expenses. Vet bills, pet food, pet toys and other accessories do cost money, but studies have shown that people with pets often live longer and have a greater overall levels of happiness.


Read a Book
Pay a visit to your library and take advantage of the world of literature that it has available to you. Try wading into the works of Shakespeare or Milton if you're up for a challenge, but anything that gets you away from a digital electronic screen for a while can be constructive. Even the smallest library has a wide variety of books to choose from, so you should have no trouble finding something that interests you.

The Bottom Line
There are many fun activities you can partake in that are either completely free or extremely affordable. Many of these things, like adopting a pet, have been proven to increase happiness thanks to research. Some of these activities involve you taking a break by yourself, while others are a great way to spend some time with your family. As the saying goes, "the best things in life are free."

Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    4 Areas to Consider Roofing Material Types

    Roofing your home is very important, that’s why you should choose a roof specifically designed to handle your area’s climate.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    How Does ClassPass Work and Make Money?

    Find out how ClassPass makes money, how the company aims to help both businesses and consumers, and why it has been so successful.
  3. Retirement

    What Are the Risks to Your Retirement Security?

    One of the biggest risks to your retirement security is something you may take for granted: your health, and more specifically, health-care costs.
  4. Retirement

    Secrets to Finding the Right Nursing Home

    The wrong choice could mean inadequate – or even deadly – care.
  5. Retirement

    How Much Medicaid and Medicare Cost Americans

    Medicaid & Medicare cost Americans plenty out of their paychecks. But how much, really? And what does that money buy?
  6. Budgeting

    The 5 Most Expensive States for Child Care

    To get a better sense of how child care costs can fluctuate, here's a look at the costs of child care across the country.
  7. Home & Auto

    Looking To Invest In Home Improvements?

    Some home improvement projects could cost you more to complete than they’ll pay out in equity. So, here we show you the worst projects to avoid.
  8. Budgeting

    How to Defray Long-Term Care Expenses

    Here's a handful of options on what you can do to defray long-term care expenses.
  9. Budgeting

    The True Cost of Home Caregiving

    Caring for eldery family in-home might be unavoidable, but most caregivers don't realize the true cost of doing so.
  10. Personal Finance

    Low-Cost Ideas For Urban Gardening

    Because urban gardening is a growing trend to create lots of greenery in your home, we give you these low-cost ideas without requiring a plot of land.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Construction Loan

    A short-term loan used to finance the building of a home or another ...
  2. Mobile Health

    Mobile health is the practice of medicine using new mobile technologies.
  3. Case Management

    Planning, processing and monitoring the healthcare services given ...
  4. Level Death Benefit

    A life insurance payout that is the same whether the insured ...
  5. HIPAA Waiver of Authorization

    A legal document that allows an individual’s health information ...
  6. Medicare Doughnut Hole

    A range of total prescription drug spending in the Medicare Part ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the best ways to pay off my mortgage quickly?

    There are two main strategies for paying off a mortgage more quickly, which can be used alone or in tandem: making larger ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the pros and cons of a simple-interest mortgage?

    The basic disadvantage of a simple interest mortgage lies in the fact that unless the borrower conscientiously makes all ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is a waiver of subrogation clause better for a tenant or a landlord?

    A waiver of subrogation clause is good for both a tenant and a landlord. A waiver of subrogation is a two-way agreement in ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Is the high cost of installing solar panels justified by the money saved by going ...

    In favorable locations and under suitable conditions, homeowners can recuperate the cost of installing solar panels. The ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. If my home runs power off the grid, what is the specific environmental impact?

    Running a solar-powered home with energy that is natural or off the grid has several environmental benefits. By using solar ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What country spends the most on healthcare?

    The United States currently ranks highest in health care spending. Of the countries spending the most on health care, the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!