There have been a lot of studies going around that are saying that the more money people spend on experiences the happier they are compared to if they spent that same amount of money on material possessions. And I have to say, I am a very strong advocate of this which is why I am writing this post! Even though I am a poor, jobless, college student like most people my age, I have been lucky enough to go on a fair share of trips in the past. Most of these large scale trips I also paid for entirely by myself and without the assistance of my family, and honestly, I am so happy that I spent my money on an experience over clothes, food, etc.
So before we jump into this post, I need to say right away that this post falls under a lot of my categories. This post relates around the benefits of buying experiences over things have an impact on your health and the health of the environment. As well as this falls under a brand new category I would love to bring to my blog which is Travel. So on my blog you will most likely see this post in 3 different categories, and that is because I want my current and future viewers who come for specific categories to still be able to see and enjoy this post. Sorry for the long explanation! My post officially starts right below.
I want you to think back to the last object you purchased. What was it? Was it a cup of coffee, a new shirt, a new phone even? Most likely the last thing you bought was a material possession and while it isn’t necessarily bad to buy material possessions, you could be spending your money on much more important things. Now when I asked you what the last thing you bought was, do you even have it anymore? If it was a cup of coffee I would assume its in the trash by now. If it was a new shirt, think how long it will take you before it doesn’t fit you anymore, you lose it, or you just grow out of that style? Finally, if it was a phone, are you going to keep it until it no longer functions or will you ditch it after the brand new one comes out? Hey you might not even remember what your last purchase even was. The thing with material possessions for me is that they don’t stick with you. Yeah they can be cool and you may love them but that love only lasts so long and for 90% of the objects we own, we forget about them or just don’t want them anymore.
Now, I want you to think back to the last experience you purchased. By experience this could be a trip somewhere, a musical, even something as simple as bowling. Now if you were to compare your last object you purchased to your last experience you spent your money on, chances are you will remember the experience more than you will remember your last material purchase. Even if the new shirt or phone you bought you absolutely love and use all the time now, think 20+ years from now. Both the shirt and the phone will be long gone at that point and they just don’t matter anymore. Now I’m not trying to say that in 20+ years you will remember that one time you went bowling, but if it was something such as a vacation or road trip you most certainly will remember those experiences for your entire lifetime and that to me is money well spent.
Why Should You Spend Money on Experiences
1. It’s an Investment
In no way are a lot of experiences such as travel cheap, but that’s why they are an investment. You invest your money into a trip and it’s not just something you throw away once you are done. Sure you come home after all is said and done but even years after you will reflect back on that amazing trip you went on and you will feel happy and fulfilled.
2. It’s Environmentally Friendly
Now if you count the driving, flying, cost to get to your destination I guess not. But if you spent most of your money not allocated to the essentials to trips, musicals, bowling. Once it’s all over it doesn’t end up in a landfill to rot for over hundreds of years.
3. It Takes Up No Space
You don’t have experiences sitting in a box in your attic, or thrown in your junk drawer, you don’t need to take a trip to Goodwill once you’re done with it. Also we have phones now so you can keep all of your photos of your experience in a compact space.
4. Post Worthy
No one cares if you post a picture of your coffee on Instagram. Every teenage girl has posted those pictures at least once in their lifetime including myself. However, if you post a picture of you in New Zealand or you went to see Hamilton on Broadway chances are your likes will go up.
5. With Objects, our Happiness Dwindles
This relates a lot back to what I said earlier on in this post. But, in general we only love something up until we either don’t or just physically cannot enjoy it anymore due to it breaking or running out.
6. Your Money will be Spent Well
I read an article awhile ago that said that if you buy a coffee everyday for $3.50, by the end of the year you will have spent about $1,260 dollars just on coffee. Isn’t that crazy?! I know tons of people in college that will buy a caribou coffee every single day and those coffees cost way more than $3.50! If you gave up buying coffee all together, each year you would have enough money to take a trip somewhere! Or go bowling a lot!! (Sorry I love using bowling as an example)
7. Material Goods are Lonely
So you bought a candle at a store last week. You burn it on occasions, admire it’s scent, but that’s pretty much it. And it’s not like you can make an activity out of burning a candle with friends and family. However, if you go out to an arcade with friends, you are being social and enjoying the people around you.
8. Experiences Educate
If you go on a trip to a far off place, you get immersed into an entirely new culture, people, and way of life which you can learn from. When you go to plays or even out to see a movie, you are becoming more cultured and educated on various issues and other things.
9. No Regrets
I would say for the most part, when it comes to experiences you won’t regret them. Yeah, you may regret going on a camping trip where it rained the entire time or spent money on an experience you couldn’t afford. But if you compare the money spent on experiences to objects, I can guarantee that you regret more things that you spent your money on than any trip, play, or bowling experience!
10. Improved Mental Health
If you travel and go out and socialize a lot, you are much more likely to be less susceptible to depression, anxiety, etc. However, if you don’t load your home with useless possessions you also can lower these rates. Having a clean space will help you feel less anxiety and you actually can enjoy your home and make experiences in it!
11. Experiences are Memorable
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have sat in my dorm and just binge watched SVU. And guess what? I couldn’t even tell you what happened in those episodes, how long I watched it, or anything. However, earlier this year I went to a Casino with a bunch of friends and I can tell you the exact food I got at the buffet, how I didn’t win any money, and how all of my friends won at least $50 dollars. Those are memories that stick.
In conclusion, I highly recommend to invest your money into trips over things that only give you a small amount of happiness. About a year ago, I went to Scotland for a school trip. I paid for the trip entirely on my own and it was one of the best investments I ever made. Then a month later, my boyfriend and I said “Screw it” and took a ten day trip to Glacier National Park in Montana and payed for it all ourselves. Again, I wouldn’t trade any of those experiences for the entire world! And even though now that I need to pay for tuition I can’t afford to go on any big trips this summer we do plan on going on a few weekend trips throughout Minnesota. Plus I am interning at my local historical society and will be teaching kids about my local history! Experiences don’t need to be big trips either!
2 thoughts on “Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things”
My family recently came to this same realization when thinking of birthday gifts for my father. He has everything he needs, and doesn’t like clutter. So what to get him? We started asking him questions and realized that at 70 years old there were some things he’d wished he had done, but never had the opportunity. So, we work on making them happen for him. He wanted to fly a plane, we got him a 1 hour flight in a 2-seater. He LOVED it. The next year we booked an hour in one of those flight simulators they use for pilot training so he could fly a 737. Success! This year we got him an hour at Diggertown (something like that) where he can run some giant construction equipment. He’s already told us that these are the best gifts he’s ever received. I am 100% on board with experiences over things! Great post!
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Thank you for enjoying it! I am glad that you are giving your father gifts that will stick with him and last!
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