Plenty of recent research has shown that people tend to derive more happiness from spending their money on experiences, such as travel and entertainment, than on things, such as clothing and gadgets.Spending your money on experiences could make you happier than buying a material possession, no matter how much money you spend.It would be unfair to compare a shirt to a trip, but when we account for the price.
Why spending on experiences leads to greater happiness?
Experiences result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions. Over time, people’s satisfaction with the things they buy decreases, whereas their satisfaction with experiences over time increases.
Experiences provide better memories. Almost everyone among us experiences moments that leave behind memories that one cherishes forever. Be it an annual family summer trip or some college trip. You see experiences always provide better memories that you can live with the rest of your life. Decades later, when you look back on those moments with great joy and fondness, you can actually feel that you are reliving those moments.
Experiences result in less clutter. Most physical possessions eventually become a burden on our lives. They take up physical space in our homes and mental space in our minds. They require care, attention, maintenance, organization. Experiences, on the other hand, are accompanied by little to no physical baggage. The only things you bring home from the trips or other experiences are a few photos and a lot of memories.
Experiences provide a greater opportunity to connect with other people. This is the nature of experiencing things with others. Because we enjoy time together around a common purpose and activity for an extended period, we are afforded numerous opportunities to talk and connect. If you take your children to a game on the field, you will notice that you will equally enjoy the game. Because you get to enjoy the opportunity to simply talk and connect to other people about school and sports and friendships.
Experiences result in greater mindfulness. According to Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. And the greater a person’s ability to “stay present” in a given moment, the greater happiness they experience during and after. Experiences provide greater opportunity in this regard. Live in the moment and live every moment to the fullest.
Experiences result in less comparison with others. Another significant reason experiences result in more happiness than material possessions is because experiences result in less comparison with others. It is easier to compare material goods with others than experiences. For example, how many carats is someone's ring, what laptop or mobile phone do they use etc? This doesn’t mean, of course, that comparisons don’t still occur at events like, “I wish I could get that award or seat”. But overall, both during and after, we are less inclined to compare with others the experiences we enjoy than the material possessions we own.