OPINION

Buy experiences, not gadgets

Your loot won't make you happy, long-term

In The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things, I read:

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation … “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.”

​Agreed. Buying new tech is fun for a while, but soon becomes the “new normal”

over time, people’s satisfaction with the things they bought went down, whereas their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on went up.

​Especially when the experience didn’t just enrich you, but also your family and friends. You reminisce over photos of the experience, you have inside jokes for which you “had to be there”, etc.

Ironically, the fact that a material thing is ever present works against it, making it easier to adapt to. It fades into the background and becomes part of the new normal. But while the happiness from material purchases diminishes over time, experiences become an ingrained part of our identity.

​True. I still appreciate my Apple tech and my Pebble for the daily functionality they provide, but I’ve “normalized” to having this standard of tech in my life, and it no longer excites me.

You’re also much less prone to negatively compare your own experiences to someone else’s than you would with material purchases. One study conducted by researchers Ryan Howell and Graham Hill found that it’s easier to feature-compare material goods (how many carats is your ring? how fast is your laptop’s CPU?) than experiences. And since it’s easier to compare, people do so.

​Especially in the current culture of “you have to share it to experience it”.


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