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Then science says you should spend more money on once in a lifetime experiences than material things…

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that says, “Collect Moments, Not Things”. But did you know that there is a lot of truth in this statement? According to research conducted by the San Francisco State University that was published in the online Journal of Positive Psychology, people often buy material things, believing it will bring them happiness and that it is a better use of money. However, when it comes to things that improve one’s well-being, experiences come out on top.

There has been much research dedicated to the topic of experiences versus things, and they all offer unique insights into why people should be choosing one over the other. Many studies show that material purchases don’t provide long lasting pleasure because we soon grow accustomed to them. It’s the old saying: “The novelty wears off”.

Often a better version of what we have purchased will come out just after we’ve bought it, making us regret our purchase. We also often enjoy the anticipation and build up to the purchase more than the actual purchase itself. The moment we complete the purchase the thrill is over and we’re left seeking more.

The good thing about choosing an experience over a thing is that it doesn’t have to be dramatic or flashy to work. Many people assume that for an experience to be beneficial, it needs to be expensive or large – like climbing Mount Everest or taking a month off to explore Europe. Research shows that the experience can be small or short and still have a very positive affect on a person’s well-being. It also shows that when we share experiences with people close to us, we feel more connected with them – something that does not happen during shared enjoyment of a material object.

So, the next time you have some cash to spare and are considering buying the latest smart gadget or popular fashion accessory, ask yourself if you will still enjoy it in a month’s time. Perhaps a better use of your money would be to take your spouse for a sunrise hot air balloon ride instead. This way you can build long lasting memories and a better emotional connection that will last long after your ride is over.

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