They say money can’t buy you happiness, but for most Americans, this seems completely false. For the millions of Americans living in debt, scrounging money together to pay rent, or for those simply getting by, extra money is the answer to a prayer. It might not be able to buy true Zen-like happiness or inner peace, but it can certainly make life a lot easier.

Three Ways Affluent People Live Life Differently 

So just what is it that wealthy people do that less wealthy people don’t? Obviously, they’re spending more money on luxury and frills, but those differences are superficial. How are they actually living life differently? And more importantly, how can you follow their example? Here are three ways that affluent people live and ways that you can follow their example.

1. They Make Their Money Make Money

Do you have an investment portfolio? Do you know the difference between a stock and a bond? What about your financial advisor, do you have one? Wealthy people take the money they make and invest it to make more money. You have to have it to make it. You not only have to have money to spare, but you also have to have money to risk.

Investments also mean that you are looking toward the future. Living paycheck to paycheck, as many Americans do, is not living in the long-term. That kind of instability does not allow you to put money into 401K’s, or IRA’s, or even savings accounts. You need the money now. The wealthy do not, and that in turn helps them become wealthier.

You can attain financial stability by simply thinking small. It might seem like you need every penny that you earn in order to get by, but realistically you can save a small amount. Start with an attainable goal, like $20 a month. It’s not much, but you can build on it. You can invest it, and you can let it grow.

2. They Take Vacations

Paid time off itself is not a luxury, but having the money to use it to its full extent is. The disposable income that serves to define the affluent allows them to enjoy more than a stay-cation. They don’t use their vacation days to get yard work done. They use vacation days to travel around the world and find experiences that are both relaxing and invigorating.

It is hard to have both money and time at the same time, but wealthy people manage to get the work-life balance right better than most. They make their time away count. They travel big.

Okay, so maybe you can’t fly around the world on your days off, but you can still find ways to relax. That means using whatever vacation days you have each year, and not just letting them roll over or disappear. Focus on taking time to care for yourself, enjoy your friends and family, and come back to work rested, rejuvenated, and motivated to do more.

3. They Pay People to do Things for Them

Being wealthy is like being the manager of your own life. It feels like you should be the manager no matter what, but it really only works if you have money. If you can afford to be the manager, then you can forgo doing the mundane everyday, entry-level work your life requires.

That means paying people to do things rather than doing them yourself. Wealthy people have drivers. They have cleaning people. They have assistants to keep track of their appointments for them. They pay to have their groceries delivered, and they have a landscaping team to take care of their lawns.

Imagine what you could accomplish if you didn’t have to waste so much time running errands and doing dishes. You would have time to sit down and search for a better job. You would have time to go back to school and learn a new skill for today’s marketplace.

Paying for a maid might seem like an extravagant expense, but if doing so allows you time to earn more money than the cost of scrubbing your floors is actually a smart investment.

If you don’t have disposable income, and you can’t convince your children to do all the housework, then you’re probably stuck with the mundane tasks of your day. You can’t get rid of them, but you can confine them to a given time. Give yourself a set time for chores and errands each day, and use the reminder of your free time to be productive.

Start Learning the Lessons of the Wealthy

Money is a great divider, and it determines a lot about how people live their lives. It can seem that the lives lead by the rich and wealthy are unattainable, but they offer some valuable lessons. You can learn from the differences between your lifestyle and theirs, and you can start to close the gap.Affluent People, Affluent, Rich, Wealthy, Define Affluent