Already Rich: 3 Ways to Enjoy What You Have, While at Home

Spending time, not money provides a new perspective of health and wealth.

Posted Apr 25, 2020

Balancing Health and Wealth: Appreciate the Value of What You Have 

Whether fired or furloughed, many employees are feeling the stress of financial uncertainty. Concerned about missed opportunities, they feel both helpless and hopeless—a recipe for depression. But while continuing to pursue avenues of employment, home confinement also provides time to assess existing assets. You might find you have more than you think—in a variety of categories. The key is to balance physical and psychological health, while pursuing financial health. Here are three ideas.

1. The Perceptive Palate: Mindset Matters

Out-of-work employees might find an abundance of riches in their stocked pantry—although this is not the right remedy. True, emotional eating is a common response to stress and discontent, in an effort to boost mood.[i] But while seeking comfort from comfort food might seem like a short term solution to situational depression, eating hearty is not heart-healthy.

Fortunately, however, for people on a budget, research reveals that even something as simple as enjoying a meal is impacted not by money, but mood.

Hilke Plassmann et al. sought to discover whether drinking wine is more pleasurable if consumers think it is expensive. Sure enough, they found that participants who believed they were drinking expensive wine enjoyed it more.[ii] Specifically, they explained that “increasing the price of a wine increases subjective reports of flavor pleasantness as well as blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area that is widely thought to encode for experienced pleasantness during experiential tasks.”

The idea that we might actually enjoy a product we believe is more expensive illustrates the power of mind over matter—or mood. And boosting mood is often achieved not by acquiring more, but by enjoying things you already have. 

2. Savoring, Not Spending

Source: DanaTentis/Pixabay

Lara B. Aknin et al. in “Buying well-being” (2018) explain that happiness often comes from enjoying what we already have.[iii] New is not necessarily better. Whether reflecting upon past experiences or focusing on possessions we already own, they note that we can appreciate the blessings we already have, saving our money for the future.

What do you already have? Look around. And that means in places you have been meaning to clean out anyway. Now that you finally have time to clean out drawers and closets, you might stumble upon long lost family photos and videos that can provide hours of nostalgic enjoyment. Whip up some hot chocolate and schedule some meaningful family time to enjoy these happy memories, and relive favorite vacations through photos and souvenirs you have collected over the years.

And speaking of collectibles, you might also find a treasure trove of now-antique items to sell online or set aside for your next garage sale. Take this time to separate the valuable, from the disposable.

3. Repurpose Your Space: Finding Fitness

Ironically, during house cleaning in a time of need, you will come across plenty of things you don’t, which you can dispose of through donation center drop-offs.

With closets clean and clutter removed, you now have better use of your space, to work, relax, or exercise. If you live in an apartment or condo complex, you probably cannot turn your living room into a jogging track or run a marathon from your balcony like a man did in France while under quarantine.[iv] But as long as you have an Internet connection, there are online videos featuring everything from high impact aerobics to yoga. If you want to add accountability and force yourself to actually get into your gym clothes, choose a virtual class that allows you to see your workout partners.

Spending Time Not Money: Valuing People Over Possessions

The saying is tried and true, the best things in life are free. They include experiences and relationships. The intrinsic value of faith and family are worth more than finances. No one at the end of life expresses they wished they had spent more time at the office. Make your free time rich with meaningful experience, because time spent with loved ones is priceless.


[i] Klatzkin, Rebecca R., Reedhi Dasani, McKay Warren, Catrina Cattaneo, Tzvi Nadel, Cleo Nikodem, and Harry R. Kissileff. 2019. “Negative Affect Is Associated with Increased Stress-Eating for Women with High Perceived Life Stress.” Physiology & Behavior 210 (October). doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112639.

[ii] Hilke Plassmann, John O’Doherty, Baba Shiv, and Antonio Rangel, “Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105, no. 3, 2008, 1050-1054.

[iii] Lara B. Aknin, Dylan Wiwad, Katherine B. Hanniball, ”Buying well-being: Spending behavior and happiness,” Social And Personality Psychology Compass, 2018, 1-12.