Buy Experiences Instead of Stuff

“So just where does happiness reside for consumers?  Scholars and researchers haven’t determined whether Armani will put a bigger smile on your face than Dolce & Gabbana. But they have found that our types of purchases, their size and frequency, and even the timing of the spending all affect long-term happiness.

One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.  ‘It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch’ is basically the idea.” 

Stephani Rosenbloom, a reporter for the New York Times, explored this issue in an excellent article that appeared in the August 7th issue.  You can read the whole article here.

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6 Responses to Buy Experiences Instead of Stuff

  1. Bobbie in Atlanta August 11, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Thanks for referring me to this fantastic article Rick.

  2. Kathleen August 11, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    So if you don’t have a clue who or what “Dolce & Gabbana” is/are, is that a sign of more or less happiness?

  3. Rich Colman August 11, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    Hi Rick:

    Great article. I cannot believe I missed it when I read the NY Times!

  4. Tim Heiman August 11, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    It must be nice to be young and live on 24K a year. Taking only the cost of insurance for medical, utilities of gas, electric and water, food, prescriptions. No phone no car expenses no home owner expense the two of us could not live on 24K a year. We have no debt at all. I would like to know the whole story, do they have health insurance are they getting food stamps, who is paying for his education? I can see getting rid of 30K of debt easy enough by getting rid of two cars and all the other items that would not fit in a 400 square foot rental. More power to them the older they get the harder this will be to attain.

  5. Joanne August 11, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Well, for Gary and I, we’ve moved through buying stuff; buying brand names and are now buying services! Yes, in our 70’s, we’ve found that buying the services of a 19 year old young man to help with heavy gardening and yard work frees us from sore muscles, breathlessness and aches and pains.
    (Of course we still are buying travel experiences:)

    • Rick Kahler August 11, 2010 at 10:51 am #

      Joanne, You make a really good observation about buying “services.” I will bet they are every bit as effective in producing happinesss as experiences are. I know that is true for me.