Happiness > Money

My wife Chelsea and I recently started adhering to a stricter financial budget than we have in the past. We've assessed what our monthly expenses are, we set a goal for how much we want to transfer into our savings account at the end of each month, and we've started keeping certain spending activities to a minimum.

We rarely eat at restaurants anymore, preferring instead to cook at home and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. We've opted for a combination of Netflix Instant and Hulu+ rather than paying for cable TV, which is a huge savings. We almost never go to the movies, we just wait for stuff to become available on Netflix, or maybe a Redbox kiosk in a pinch . We don't buy lots of knick-knacks for ourselves or Brendon; we've got plenty enough stuff as it is.

I say all this because yesterday something unusual happened. Chelsea, in a moment of quick decision, spent $40 to buy two sets of Irish dance shoes (hard-shoe and soft-shoe, respectively) for one of her dance students as a birthday present. Now, even our own family members only get birthday/Christmas gifts worth maybe $20, and Chelsea is typically the stricter one when it comes to our budget, so when she told me about this purchase I think she expected me to be upset. But I wasn't upset in the least.

If anything, it made me smile :)

For one thing, those shoes can easily run for over $100 a pair, so $40 to get both pairs at once was a steal. A lady on some obscure dance forum was trying to get rid of the shoes since her daughter had grown out of them, and Chelsea had to act quickly in order to score the deal.

Besides that, the student these shoes are going to—despite being in my wife's class for a few years now and being truly dedicated to it—has never had the opportunity to buy them herself. She comes from a family that's been going through some hard times lately, and it's only because of her love for the class that her parents scrape together enough extra money to keep paying each month.

And that's why I don't mind the sudden purchase my wife made. The reason we're putting money into savings isn't out of some Scrooge-like hoarding greed or anything. We have lots of financial goals we'd like to meet of course, but all of that pales in comparison to the happiness that those dance shoes will bring to that little girl. Forget making her day, this gift will probably make her month or maybe even year.

Isn't that really the more important thing? I certainly think so.