October 14, 2020

Buy Experiences, Not Stuff. Here’s Why.

What does it mean to "buy experiences"? It's more than just wild adventures, it's about using savvy spending methods to build relationships and foster long-term happiness.

What does it mean when people say “buy experiences, not stuff”? When we spend money, it brings feelings of happiness and satisfaction. But so-called “retail therapy” types of mood-boosting buys are rarely ones we look back on years later, so it is important to find savvy spending practices that allow us to build a life around sustainable and lasting happiness.

The Good News: We can shift our spending so our purchases deepen our happiness and help us create more meaningful lives.

Young woman choosing clothes on sale - symbolizing savvy spending
Savvy spending is about so much more than just getting good deals or bargains on goods.

Experiential spending is a rising trend in gift-giving and lifestyle as people realize that the benefits of experiences last long after the experience happens (and never take up space in the attic). Research from the Journal of Positive Psychology shows, “people who spent money on experiences rather than material goods were happier and felt the money was better spent”.

Additional research from Cornell University provides other reasons why we respond positively towards experiences, one of those includes:

Stronger Social Relationships

“Because we often participate in experiences with other people, experiences tend to foster and enhance social bonding that may strengthen our mental and physical health.”

Drawing by a young child of family together on bicycles as an example of the buy experiences approach
Something as simple as renting bikes and having an afternoon in a local park can be the foundation for great family memories for years to come.

More evidence on why prioritizing a “buy experiences” approach benefits our wellbeing can be found in the full article available in our newsletter, Buy Experiences, Not Stuff. Here’s Why.

How to Become an Experience-focused, Savvy Spending Gift-giver

To become a savvy experiential spender, you have to shift your mindset from items to experiences. In our full newsletter, we explain ways to become a savvy consumer of experiences but here is an example to give you an idea on how to shift your thinking: reimagine birthday or holiday gifts.

Instead of purchasing an item to wrap in a nice box with a bow, consider purchasing the recipient an experience, “…experiences tend to generate higher and longer-lasting levels of satisfaction than goods, one great way to rack up win-win is to give experiences for birthdays, at holidays, or whenever you want to show appreciation and love for someone”.

Now, not all items are lost, and a tangible item could work well as an experiential gift. For example, purchasing a surfboard because you are taking a trip to Hawaii with your family, and you want your family to immerse themselves into the island culture through surf lessons will provide an experience no one will ever forget.

Interested in finding out more ways to be a savvy spender? Find ways to have the time of your life and stretch your dollar. Read the full article in our newsletter.


Click to download the newsletter as a PDF: Buy Experiences, Not Stuff. Here’s Why.

Then sign up to receive the Harvesting Prosperity newsletter directly to your email. At Financial Harvest Wealth Advisors, we are committed to guiding families toward prosperity, effectively and efficiently.  

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Buy experiences, not stuff. Here's why.

Financial Harvest Wealth Advisors Team


The Financial Harvest Wealth Advisory team is dedicated to helping address the unique financial planning needs of each family, business, or individual that we have the privilege to serve. Our team members are focused on client success and helping our clients realize their most significant and meaningful life goals.

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