When most think of their future, they think of a nice paying job, a big house, nice car, and a comfortable lifestyle. It’s easy to think that buying more and more physical objects will make you a happier person. When deciding on a vacation or new truck, most people will lean towards the truck. After all, your truck isn’t going to go away once you’ve spent your money. Once your vacation is over, all you’re left with are memories. According to research, however, you’re going to be happier having amazing experiences, traveling and being outdoors, than you would be if you spend all of your money on physical possessions.
Buying something new makes us happy. After a while, though, the happiness fades, and we’re looking for the next new thing to buy, repeating this process indefinitely. You’ll end up with more things, but will you be happier than before? Most experts say no. They recommend using your money on new experiences, like outdoor activities, traveling, or learning new skills. These new skills can range anywhere from rock climbing to sky diving, or even just camping at the lake. Getting out and enjoying life can be just as enjoyable as purchasing something new.
Over time, these memories of your experiences will often stay the same. You can look back on your camping experience fondly, remembering the great experiences you felt while outdoors with your friends and family. When looking back on a purchase, the joy has often faded, instead being replaced by the happiness of your next big purchase.
Another reason these experiences make us happier than purchasing something is the sense of shared experiences. Even if you were mortified after hiking up a dangerous cliff, talking to others about it can give you a sense of shared bonding with those who have done it. It can make a great story to tell at parties. No one is going to care about the other guy’s latest big screen TV purchase when you’re telling everyone about your kayaking trip. Even if your trip wasn’t as good as you expected, the memories will eventually become better. After all, it feels great to be the person that was out hiking during a huge storm while everyone else was indoors sitting on their couch. If you’re wanting to strengthen a relationship, spending a vacation together is much better than purchasing a TV together. If you’re looking to make new friends, bonding over climbing the same mountain is easier than bonding over owning the same blender.
If you’re a business owner, sending your employees on vacations can actually make them better employees. Those who have went out and had great outdoors experiences are more likely to perform better at work, be more cheerful, and be an all-around better employee than those who sat at home over their vacation. Encourage them to get out and try new things.
Of course, buying physical materials isn’t something you should always avoid. As with everything in life, finding the perfect balance is key. But if you have some extra cash laying around, consider hitting the road. Spending your money on new experiences won’t leave you with more physical goods in the end, but it will make you a happier person.