What Makes You Happy? Spending on Things Or Experiences? | The Frugalista

What Makes You Happy? Spending on Things Or Experiences?

by frugalista on November 9, 2011

photo 4 e1320844139772 150x150 What Makes You Happy? Spending on Things Or Experiences?Hey! I was a guest on the The Callie Crossley Show, an awesome radio show out of Boston, last week. I had a ball with the guests and call-in listeners, chatting about ways that we chose to spend – or not spend – in this economy. Be sure to listen to it on this link.

One of the guests, University of Virginia Professor Timothy Wilson, says that it’s better to spend your money on experiences instead of things to live a happy life. Things only take you so far. He wrote a paper, along with two others, titled If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right. Well, alright! He really made me think. He’s a big fan of a satisfying meal with friends or a vacation with loved ones. When I think of what has brought me the most joy, it’s been experiences such as forro dancing in Rio de Janeiro or splashing my feet in a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico.

Now I am overjoyed when I buy a coveted dress on sale -and many others are, too! I get plenty of messages on Twitter or Facebook when someone finds that special buy. Can spending on things make us happy, too? I know I get a buzz from purchasing some things, but I absolutely romanticize the times I’ve traveled someplace special or gotten a fantastic hug from one of my elder family members.

So what do you think? What do you spend your money on that brings your true satisfaction? Can a thing such a new car bring you joy or only vacations? Can spending on both bring you joy or only a low bank account balance? Sound off below!

P.S. Those are my legs sunning on a beach in San Juan! I highly recommend it for pure bliss!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

JD November 9, 2011 at 8:47 am

I would say both. As anyone who knows me can attest, I am a big sports and love attending ‘events.’ I love my trips to Dallas for Cowboys games, my championship ring from working at the Indy 500, and always try to get to a concert, nice restaurant, or sporting event in any city to which I travel for business or personal reasons if there’s time.

However, those who know me well also know I have a cherished collection of sneakers, music, and memorabilia as well. Day to day, I enjoy my ‘stuff’, but the memories last longer from the experiences.


Jen November 9, 2011 at 9:22 am

Usually experiences. I’ve moved across country more than once, and I currently live in NYC, in a 325 square foot apartment with limited (very limted) storage space. Before I lived her, I lived in Boston – also a small apartment. In small spaces, things pile up quickly, and even if they are beloved individually, en masse they become a burden.

So I prefer experiences, generally: A museum membership, a trip, dinner with friends, etc.


GLM November 9, 2011 at 10:10 am

I spend more on things. This reminds me that I need to balance things a bit more. I haven’t taken a modest destination vacation in years!!!


coco November 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I lIke stuff, but the best part of the coveted dress is where you wore it, who you were with and what you did.


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