3 Reasons to Focus on Experiences Over Things

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3 Reasons to Focus on Experiences Over Things

Have you found that spending your money on material possessions doesn’t bring you the same fulfillment, as, say, taking a vacation does?

If so, you’re not alone. Many people are happier spending on experiences, as they create lasting memories. This isn’t the case when you buy goods — the newness of material possessions wears off quickly. After about a month, most things become stuff, which can lead to clutter.

Let’s discuss the reasons to focus on experiences over things a little more in-depth.

Your Spending is Naturally More In Line With Your Values

When shifting the focus to spending on experiences, you’re naturally spending on things that will bring you happiness. This is because you’re no longer trying to keep up with the Joneses’ materialistic lifestyle.

Remember, not all experiences require spending. They could simply be a potluck or game night with friends, a walk in the park with your dog, or surprising a family member with a visit.

What’s even better is that the time you spend (it’s not always about the money) is also more in line with your values. Once we turn our attention away from the things we own, we have more time for what truly matters.

Experiences Create Memories

When was the last time buying something gave you lasting happiness? As mentioned above, when you buy something, there’s often a rush of initial excitement, but it disappears over time.

As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with the message to buy. Companies try to convince us we need the latest and greatest, and we find ourselves trapped in an endless cycle of spending.

Where’s the enjoyment in that? Fleeting moments of happiness are not what life’s about.

Think about your happiest memories. It’s likely that they don’t involve expensive material items, but instead, involve the people you care about the most. Or maybe it’s a simple hobby you enjoy, such as fishing or running.

Those memories will last you a lifetime. The excitement of buying a new car, new clothes, or new technology won’t, plus their value will depreciate with time. The value of memories don’t depreciate — in fact, research shows that they tend to become rosier and more cheerished over time. Memories, in other words, will actually rise in “value,” so to speak, as the years move forward.

Experiences Don’t Create Clutter

The final reason to focus on experiences is that they don’t create clutter. You might have some souvenirs or scrapbooks, but if you can look at them and smile, they’re worth keeping around.

Stuff, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. You might even avoid looking at it, because it’s such a distraction!

If you’re focused on buying things for the sake of having them, you might find yourself overwhelmed with clutter. Do you have a spare bedroom stuffed with random items? Do your children have way too many toys? Then it’s time to cut down on belongings and focus on what really matters.

Clutter can kill productivity and focus. As a result, many people go through cycles: they’ll buy items until their homes start feeling cluttered. Then they’ll purge the clutter, feeling relieved. But they’ll slowly start to let items creep back into their homes again — until they start feeling like they’ve accumulated a lot of clutter. It’s a vicious spend-purge-spend-purge cycle, and it needs to stop.

Focus on buying only items you absolutely need, and spend the rest of your money building savings, paying off debt, investing, and indulging in experiences.


MARCH 23RD 2020

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