Why Spending on Experiences Can Lead to Greater Happiness

We live in a society that revolves around the latest technology and fashion – but do these things really bring us joy? Research suggests that people who spend money on experiences instead of material items are happier and feel better about their purchases. Here are some more great reasons to spend your money on experiences instead of things:

The Novelty of “Stuff” Wears Off

Wearing a new shirt might make you feel good, but you will eventually get tired of it and buy a new one. While a five-day trip might be shorter than the amount of times you can wear a shirt, the novelty of a great experience you once had will most likely never wear off.

Experiences are Personal and Unique

You show up to a social gathering, and someone else has the same exact jeans as you do – do they still feel as special as they did when you bought them? If you go on a long-weekend visit to a cool city, however, you will have your own, unique experience. That is one of the coolest things about experiences – that yours will never be identical to someone else’s. Even if you have a similar itinerary as your friend who went to Toronto the previous year, you will experience things through your own lens and have a unique adventure. The way you process the world plays a role in this, whereas material items are essentially the same to everyone.

Memories are Forever

Experiencing things with loved ones, or even by yourself, is fulfilling in and of itself. Ultimately, though, experiences become part of who we are. Reminiscing with loved ones about fun times is a way to feel happy and connected. You probably aren’t going to reminisce about the time you got new tiling in your bathroom, but reminiscing on a trip you took with loved ones is truly joyful. Reminiscence therapy has even been proven to improve mood and some cognitive abilities in patients with dementia. Personally, I spend hours reminiscing with my friends about fun things we did together. Make memories now so you can reminisce later!

There are many reasons to go out and have new experiences. Besides the reasons mentioned above – it’s just plain fun. How do you start implementing the idea of spending money on experiences? Well, one great way to do this is to give people experiences as gifts. If any of your loved ones’ birthdays are approaching, think about getting them an experience instead of the latest technology:

  • A day at an amusement park
  • Comedy show tickets
  • Concert tickets
  • Cooking classes
  • Dance lessons
  • Home spa day
  • Make a fancy dinner
  • Massage
  • Museum passes
  • Sporting event tickets
  • Take them on a picnic
  • Train/plane ticket
  • Weekend trip

Something great about these ideas is that you can do these activities with the person you’re giving them to as an excuse to spend time with them. If you give someone an experience, maybe it will inspire them to do the same for someone else. It’s a great way to make people feel happy, giving them unique experiences and memories that will last.

Speaking from my own 21 years on Earth, I can honestly say I have never regretted spending money on experiences. Being able to look back on memories with people you live is special – buying material things just can’t give you this. You also don’t have to spend $5,000 on a trip to Paris for a great experience. Spending the day with your family in a Michigan city like Detroit or Traverse City, having a picnic or heading to your local zoo are great ways to make memories. Next time you see something at the mall that you don’t need, think about saving that money for a fun experience instead.

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Photo credit: Natalie Bennett

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