Spend your limited funds on what will make you happy. Do not spend your money on things. The trouble with things is that the happiness they provide fades quickly.
The paradox of things is that you assume that the happiness you get will last as long as the thing itself. It seems intuitive that investing in something you can see, hear, and touch on a permanent basis delivers the best value. But it is wrong.
You get used to new possessions. What seemed novel and exciting quickly becomes the norm. You keep raising the bar. New purchases lead to new expectations. You get used to a new possession, you look for an even better one.
Possessions foster comparisons. You buy a new car and are thrilled with it until a friend buys a better one – and there is always someone with a better one.
We buy things because we think they’ll make us feel a certain way. ‘Buy this and buy that, so you can look like her and feel like him.’ But buying things does not actually help us truly feel anything (except instant gratification). Advertisements sell the feelings that objects might give us. But the truth is, those feelings pass, and then all you’re left with is stuff.
Our possessions do not define us, or help us understand the important things in life. They feed our Ego and create a false sense of Self, an identity based off of material things sold in a store.
Of course there are things we need to spend money on to survive, to provide, to stay fed, and warm, and safe, but beyond those basic needs it’s totally up to us how we spend our money … We have the choice.
We need to look at the way we spend our money, because there is a science telling us we will live a happier life by spending it on experiences.
Taking a course, going on an adventure, or picking up a new hobby, require us to be active, learn, and test ourselves. They form memories that stay with us forever to share, relive, and build upon.
These memories help us define who we really are, what actually makes us happy, and they help carve out our core values and morals … something that a new pair of kicks just can’t do.
So follow the path that will ultimately give you greater happiness and fulfillment in life, and invest in your experiences. Cut the price tag and go explore the world outside … After all, when you die all you’ll have is your memories, so you better make some good ones.
Experiences become a part of our identity. You are not your possessions, but you are the accumulation of everything you have seen, the things you have done, and the places you have been.
Buying an Apple Watch is not going to change who you are; taking a break from work to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish most certainly will.
Experiences are enjoyable from the very first moments of planning, all the way through to the memories you cherish forever. The very fact that they last for only a short time is part of what makes you value them so much, and that value tends to increase as time passes. Things may last longer than experiences, but the memories that linger are what matter most.
You can think that part of your identity is connected to things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. You are the sum total of your experiences.