I read a very interesting article on www.fastcompany.com. The article was called “The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things” and much of this post was copied from that article.
I just loved this article so much because I’ve recently come to this realization on my own. Moving forces you to take a good close look at all the stuff you own and the more times you have to pack it and move it the most closely you begin to analyze it. Do I really need all this stuff?
90% of all my belongings stayed in storage for 9 months this past year. I only had essential things in my possession and those included: a fraction of my wardrobe, my computers, and (most importantly) my cameras. It was such an amazing and refreshing experience to realize that I didn’t miss anything (well maybe some mittens during the cold days in Maine) but I couldn’t believe that I was content with less than a quarter of my clothes and shoes. As far as all of my other material possessions, I think I forgot what I owned by the time I unpacked it all.
I’m to the point in my life where I don’t want more “stuff.” Every year for my birthday I forbid my husband from buying me presents. The only present that I ever ask for is that we go somewhere and “make a memory.” The only thing I want to come home with is a memory card filled with photos. Those I will treasure forever.
When most people spend money on “stuff” they assume that a physical object will last longer and therefore keep them happier longer. I myself fell into this trap and always told my husband not to buy me flowers on our anniversary. Why waste money on something that will die in a week? Instead, I used to say “buy me jewelry that I’ll have for a long time.” I may have the object for a long time, but how long does it keep my happy is the question?
Most of the rest of this post is all taken from the article posted on www.fastcompany.com . . .
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University. ”We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.
It’s counterintuitive that something like a physical object that you can keep for a long time doesn’t keep you as happy as long as a once-and-done experience does. Ironically, the fact that a material thing is ever present works against it, making it easier to adapt to. It fades into the background and becomes part of the new normal. But while the happiness from material purchases diminishes over time, experiences become an ingrained part of our identity.
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
So what is the point of all this? I encourage you to think twice about buying another new camera body or lens, or designer bag, or big screen TV. When you think about how to spend your extra cash this year consider taking a trip (to Maine) to make some memories and go back home with your own camera chip filled with beautiful pictures and new experiences.