Research suggests people will gain more lasting benefits from spending on experiential purchases than from buying material objects.
Some may disagree pointing out that taking a ride in the country in a spankin’ new sports car will bring far more enjoyment that taking a ride in the country in an old pick-up, and that a picnic on champagne and caviar will give you more happiness than a picnic consisting of bread and water.
In both examples, the amount of money invested in the “objects” enhanced the “experience” proportionately. While these may “technically” be valid points – proponents of this line of thinking may be missing the basic point.
AcumulatingMoney.com explains it quite simply: “people receive more enduring pleasure and satisfaction from investing in life experiences than material possessions.” “We don’t get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object.”
For example, taking a surfing lesson will give you much more to remember and chat up with your friends about than buying a new shirt or pair of shoes will – which can easily cost the same amount. New experiences such as taking a cooking class, a horse back ride on the beach, or going scuba diving for instance, will provide more residual positive memories to share with others than a new “object” will.
That said, other factors do come into play when we are dealing with a person’s desire or need for material things - such as a person’s development level of thier self-worth, and where they find themselves on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid.
For instance, a person seeking “self-esteem” and “respect by others” -qualities listed on the green tier in the pyramid, may not buy into the notion that “experiences are better to invest in than material things” since they are still trying to achieve “self-actualization.”
A person without a job, or lacking the security of a safe home environment cannot be expected to lay out the ching for a “beach getaway” over investing in an apartment with higher rent in order to live in a safer neighborhood.
My conclusion on the concept that ” buying experiences, not possessions, leads to greater happiness” is that it really depends on where a person is in their lives in order to be able to acknowledge, understand, and appreciate the simple pleasures of everyday living. On any given day we can experience the sound of singing birds, see the beauty of the sun rise, inhale the sweetness of a rose, and feel what it’s like to be in love….all free experiences for the taking.
A homeless person on the street may not enjoy a sunset the same way a person would enjoy the same exact sunset from their steamy hot tub sipping a cold drink. To the person struggling on the bottom tier of Maslow’s pyramid – this sunset may represent the closing of another day in hell on earth, with the anticipation of yet another cold, homeless night ahead to endure. To a “self-actualized” person - this sunset could symbolize the perfect ending to another day in paradise, with the promise of more great things to come - it’s all about “perception” really.
Stress, among other factors, can take a toll on a person’s happiness, and the act of getting out and “experiencing” in itself is a great way to take one’s mind off some of those things bogging them down. Since “money” or the lack of it is a common theme these days - spending “quality time” with nature, family, and friends may be a great way to enjoy life ~ without the associated guilt spending money can bring. So maybe it’s time to take that hike you’ve been meaning to go on, enjoy that ride in the country, or spend a day at the beach…or do what ever it is that makes YOU happy – because after all is said and done one age old adage still rings true - “the best things in life are free.” Enjoy ~ Aprilanne
Aprilanne Hurley SFN is a Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, Health Expert for California Living, and author of The Party Girl Diet – the revolutionary new diet and lifestyle available on Amazon.com so you “Keep the Party Going…while You Lose the Weight!”
While the Oceano Hotel & Spa’s “walk everywhere” location, chic guest suites, and new Coastal Spa are everything you could want in a vacation getaway on the coast - an impressive feature of this Half Moon Bay, CA resort property is that they are the “only full service hotel in San Mateo County to be certified by the San Mateo County’s Green Buisness Program.”
Now “being green” does not mean one needs to sacrifice luxury – in fact some of the “eco-friendly” touches such as the Oceano’s organic Bamboo bed linens and all-organic custom spa treatments made me feel quite indulgent! Get the CA Insider’s Guide to Princeton-By-The-Sea and the Oceano Hotel & Spa now On-Demand below -which recently aired primetime Bay Area wide on California Living:
Want to see more? Check out the show clip of my custom milk and honey bath and Acaci Anti-Aging body Mask and Massage treatment I received during my spa day at the Oceano Coastal Spa below for the Insider’s Guide to the Bay Area’s hottest spa destination on the coast: