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Ditch the Stuff for Experiences

by: Veronica

We live in a world of complete materialism, it seems, with men and women everywhere in passionate pursuit of, well, stuff.  Many of us have become quite obsessed about keeping up with the Joneses and having the latest and greatest gadgets and electronics and cars.  This is what many have been taught will make them feel happy and fulfilled.  But is this what truly makes us happy in life?

A new psychology study joins the many previous studies on the subject, in suggesting that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for the consumer and those around them.  The study, out of San Francisco State University found that purchases of an experience, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in an increased feeling of well-being because these experiences satisfy needs related to feeling socially connected and vital, a feeling of being alive.  Interestingly, many people still believe that more money will make them happy, even though 30+ years of research has suggested that the opposite is true.
But people in fact do need money in order to get some of the finer life experiences.  So what if you don’t have loads of money and want to stock up on the best of life’s experiences?  Here are some simple ideas to enrich your vitality without breaking the bank:

• Plan a picnic in your local nature park
• Take a road trip out to the country
• Visit your local museums
• Plan a romantic dinner at home with candles and a movie
• Head to the beach for a day
• Spend a day at the local library
• Look for free local lectures in the newspaper
• Go swimming in a local pond or lake with the kids
• Remember board games?  They’re a great way to bond and have some low budget fun

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