Spend Money On Experiences, Not Things
Objects Last Longer Physically. Experiences Don’t
“Don’t spend money on things… spend money on experiences. You’ll enjoy life a lot more!”
There is a very logical assumption that most people make when spending their money: that because a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation. According to recent research, it turns out that the assumption is completely wrong.
Research from San Francisco State University found that people who spent money on experiences rather than material items were happier and felt the money was better spent.
Adaptation Becomes A Problem
The media surrounds us at all times enforcing the idea that happiness is a matter of buying the perfect house with the coziest furniture, driving the best car, wearing the trendiest clothes that will enhance our appearance and latest high tech devices. Everywhere we look we are overwhelmed with the same message: “BUY, BUY, and BUY your way to happiness!” So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibitions, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling and exploring new places. These are life-based experiences that will never be reinstated no matter how many cars or gadgets you procure.
Satisfaction With Bought Goods Decreases Over Time
If you’re not convinced that money spent on new experiences is far more valuable than what you spend on stuff, consider this: when we experience something new, our brain processes that information differently than it processes familiar situations.
How adaptation affects happiness, for instance, was measured in a study that asked people to self-report their happiness with major material and experiential purchases. Initially, their happiness with those purchases was ranked about the same. But over time, people’s satisfaction with the things they bought went down, whereas their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on went up.
We Don’t Compare Experiences As We Compare Things
We’re also much less prone to negatively compare our own experiences to someone else’s than you would with material purchases. It’s easier to feature-compare material goods (How many karats is your ring? How fast is your laptop’s CPU?) than experiences. And since it’s easier to compare, people do so.
The temporary happiness achieved by buying things only provides “puddles of pleasure.” In other words, that kind of happiness evaporates quickly and leaves us wanting more. Things may last longer than experiences, but the memories that linger are what matter most.
Buy Experiences. Not Things.
If society takes their research to heart, it should mean not only a shift in how individuals spend their discretionary income, but also place an emphasis on employers giving paid vacation and governments taking care of recreational spaces.
So, “buy experiences, not things. Spending money on experiences makes people happier than spending money on things. Things get broken and go out of style. Experiences get better every time you talk about them.”
Go ahead as well as fill your life up with experiences!