When figuring out what’s worth spending money on, it often comes down to whether you want to focus on experiences or whether you want to focus on things. Deciding what you value most can provide you with a way to make better money decisions that you are more likely to be happy with in the long run.
Why Some People Value Things
One of the reasons that many people value things is due to their tangible nature. You have something “to show for” your expenditure. Plus, many people place value on things. A couch is something you can usually sell again (even if you will only get back a fraction of what you paid in the first place).
When you are surrounded by things, you can make the argument that you have items worth something. It’s comforting to have proof that you have spent your money on something of value, even if ultimately these things depreciate in value over time.
Others prefer experiences. Indeed, research shows that many people are happier when they spend on experiences. They would rather have a vacation than a house full of stuff they don’t really care about. However, it’s hard to get beyond that barrier. While you will have those memories forever, there is nothing tangible about them, and you can’t sell them later. And, eventually, those memories will fade.
My Preference: Things that Provide Experiences
Of course, it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. There is a way to buy things that contribute to long-term experiences. At first, I thought I was more of a “things” person. However, after having a discussion on the Money Mastermind Show, I realize that I really am more of an experience person. I just like to buy things that contribute to lasting experiences.
I was talking about buying a hot tub, or adding a theater room to my house, sure that these were “things” purchases. However, I came to understand that these are actually lasting experiences. When I buy a hot tub, I am creating an experience that I can enjoy regularly. Similarly, a theater room is not just a TV. It’s putting in an entire experience that I can enjoy with my family and with my friends. That makes a difference. These things might not significantly increase the value of my home, but they do enhance my quality of life.
Purchasing things that provide experiences can give you a way to combine the both of best worlds. Consider: A theater room, hot tub, or even a nice grill that you can use all summer, all have more long-term value than a weeklong vacation that fades from memory over time. There is no doubt that the vacation is a great thing, and a great experience, but what if you could make awesome memories right in your home?
In the end, it’s all about what you value you most, and what you prefer. Look inside yourself for your preferences, and then make plans based on what matters most to you.