OP: Spend money on experiences, not materialistic things

13 November 2018

Joy Webb

jwebb4@uccs.edu

Whenever I decide to spend money, I ask myself one simple question: do I need to this or do I want this? There is a huge difference between need and want; however, we all spend money occasionally on things that make us happy.

Instead of spending your money on those new pair of shoes, spend your money on experiences, like concerts or traveling. This will be money that is always well spent.

Our society has created a need to have as many materialistic things that we possibly can afford. New cars, new clothes and a new house are all items that we desire to obtain, but nothing brings sincere happiness like experiences do. Memories last, but materialistic things do not.

According to an article by Forbes Magazine, a 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, reached a powerful and straightforward conclusion: Don’t spend your money on things. The trouble with things is that the happiness they provide fades quickly.

The happiness that comes from buying new things is fleeting. If we want a happiness that doesn’t fade, and to live our life fully, we need to focus on experience as our main source of happiness. According to the Forbes magazine article, “One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” Gilovich said. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

Our personality and our identity is formed by the memories we make, the people we meet and the places we go. It is crucial to our lives that we don’t prioritize materialistic things over experiences.

According to this article, experiences become a part of our identity. We are not our possessions, but we are the accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done and the places we’ve been.

Buying a new car won’t change your identity, but climbing your first fourteener most definitely will. Live your life creating memories that will last a lifetime. A brilliant quote in this same article states: “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” said Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

That last sentence truly explains how our identity is molded throughout our life. As you get older, you won’t remember that Prada bag you bought, or that fancy watch, but you will remember experiences and how they made you feel.

We can’t take things with us when we die, and if we want to die with a legacy, then we should experience as much as possible while we are temporarily alive.

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