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Happiness is not in your bank account.

It’s not in your closet, your waist line or your garage. Don’t go looking to your list of, or lack of, invites, happiness isn’t keeping count.

Happiness doesn’t know the difference between this season’s shoes or last season’s jacket. It’s not sitting in first class on the way to Italy. Happiness didn’t arrive on fine china. It’s not marinated with filet mignon or dipped in Belgian chocolate.

Happiness can’t count how many Twitter followers you have or who you’re connected to on LinkedIn. It hasn’t liked your latest status or analyzed your influence.

Happiness never read your post that went viral. It never attended your latest book signing either.

Happiness didn’t walk the red carpet or invent any technology. It doesn’t live in mansions and high rise buildings. Happiness doesn’t check report cards, test scores or admission status.

Happiness doesn’t discriminate, compete or carry a high price tag.

Happiness is nowhere you’ve looked and everywhere you are.

Fame, fortune and prestige are respectable goals for material survival, but what about our spiritual survival? How many times have you put your happiness on hold waiting for that one milestone?

Will you smile after the contract is signed? Are you going to laugh more when you’re out of debt? Will you enjoy life after you retire?

On the road to success, remember to take exits for gratitude, joy and love.

Happiness needs only you; not time, not accomplishments, not money. It needs you to decide right now to be happy with what you have and where you’re at.

Happiness lingers in hugs and sneaks into bedtime stories. Happiness is the ink that writes love letters. It’s the sound of laughter and the touch of holding hands.

Happiness is the quiet during sunrise and the twinkle during sunset. It’s the swelling of your heart and the peace in your mind.

Happiness is not in things, but experiences. It’s playing in the snow instead of shoveling it. Happiness eats meatloaf made at home.

Happiness walks around the neighborhood and says hi to strangers. It holds the door for others and befriends a lonely soul.

Happiness knows your neighbors and says good morning with a smile.

Happiness is volunteering at the senior citizen’s center. It’s playing games with children in the hospital.

Happiness is filled with encouragement, an empathetic shoulder, please and thank you. It’s saying I love you, over and over again.

Happiness gives freely expecting nothing in return. It’s a smile for the homeless, a thank you to teachers and enthusiasm for children’s hopes and dreams.

Start now, this moment. Smile, bigger, much bigger!

Being happy is the hardest work you’ll ever do and the most vital. It will raise you up and make you scream for joy.

Being happy is a choice. Make the decision every day to find happiness and it will find you too.

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Isra Albinali is founder and editor of, a frugal lifestyle and food blog. After pulling her family out of mounds of debt, they changed their high maintenance lifestyle and went frugal in three years, with three kids and one income. The savvy Boston mom of 3 has been featured on Anderson Cooper Talk Show, Redbook magazine, and among others.

Isra has gone from riches to rags and back again. Her mantra, "Happy is free," is now a year-long series on her blog. Every Monday she posts a new 'Get Happy for Free' challenge where she chronicles her path to happiness and encourages her readers to join the challenge with her.

Isra lives with her husband and three young children in Boston, MA. Say hi to her @thefrugalette.

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