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Buy Experiences, Not Things
Old 10-11-2014, 12:05 PM   #1
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Buy Experiences, Not Things

More support for having experiences over acquiring material things (and why):

"It's the fleetingness of experiential purchases that endears us to them. Either they're not around long enough to become imperfect, or they are imperfect, but our memories and stories of them get sweet with time. Even a bad experience becomes a good story. "

Buy Experiences, Not Things - The Atlantic

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Old 10-11-2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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Better yet, live experiences you don't have to buy. With the exception of maybe having to pay for the gas to drive the car to the park or forest or fair or farm or museum or waterfront. Or experience sitting around with the family listening to stories about your extended family before the people who can tell them are gone. Some of the best things in life cost very little and often seem to have been pushed far down the list of priorities.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
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I agree with the results of the study that found that experiences give more satisfaction than do material purchases. However, it has to be seen in context of study subjects whose basic needs were met. It it were to be repeated with subjects in abject poverty, I wonder what the results would be?
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:29 PM   #4
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Maslow's hierarchy of needs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #5
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I agree with the results of the study that found that experiences give more satisfaction than do material purchases. However, it has to be seen in context of study subjects whose basic needs were met. It it were to be repeated with subjects in abject poverty, I wonder what the results would be?
Very true. But, that kind of describes us (E-R.org). We've largely satisfied the bottom of the needs pyramid.

The message of 'buy experiences' resonates strongly with me; both in terms of memories and what I'd like to "purchase" in the future.

Unfortunately, so does the wondering mind described in the beginning of the article.
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:28 PM   #6
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Better yet, live experiences you don't have to buy. With the exception of maybe having to pay for the gas to drive the car to the park or forest or fair or farm or museum or waterfront. Or experience sitting around with the family listening to stories about your extended family before the people who can tell them are gone. Some of the best things in life cost very little and often seem to have been pushed far down the list of priorities.
+1. I don't get why they say to spend money on experiences. We easily fill our calendar each month with activities like no or low cost meet up type group events, Redwood hikes, plays, visiting with friends and family, gardens, picnics, going to the beach, gold panning, planetarium shows and lectures, museums, etc. With our library cards, some Groupons and a couple of annual garden and museum passes it doesn't cost much at all except for gas. Finding and planning all the bargain events is actually half the fun. This past week we sat on a beach with friends one night, drinking BYOB and cocktails, and watched the sunset.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:21 AM   #7
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Good article. The anticipation angle is something I hadn't thought about.
  • The most important things in life aren't things.
  • Fortunately there's no correlation between what an experience costs and what it delivers.
  • I'd rather have a new experience than memories of experiences.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:07 AM   #8
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Just last week there was an article somewhere (can't find it now) about how the super rich are spending more on experiences (luxury vacations) than things in an effort to be less visible (cars, jewelry). Keeping a lower profile.

Funny: My great uncle wouldn't smoke cigars outside of his house because he didn't want people to think he was rich.
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Old 10-12-2014, 10:40 AM   #9
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+1. I don't get why they say to spend money on experiences. We easily fill our calendar each month with activities like no or low cost meet up type group events, Redwood hikes, plays, visiting with friends and family, gardens, picnics, going to the beach, gold panning, planetarium shows and lectures, museums, etc. With our library cards, some Groupons and a couple of annual garden and museum passes it doesn't cost much at all except for gas. Finding and planning all the bargain events is actually half the fun. This past week we sat on a beach with friends one night, drinking BYOB and cocktails, and watched the sunset.
+2 Honestly I get a lot more fun out of free and low cost activities than most costly ones.

Some, not all, people seem to be using the "buy experiences not things" mantra to justify their consuming desire to travel. I don't think that needs justifying. In particular, those that haven't traveled much probably should if they can. It can be expensive but it broadens one's outlook.

Buying certain things can result in wonderful experiences you wouldn't otherwise have. And, certain experiences can result in acquiring interesting things that you wouldn't otherwise have. This isn't an "either, or" type of decision IMO.
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Old 10-12-2014, 10:43 AM   #10
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+2 Honestly I get a lot more fun out of free and low cost activities than most costly ones.

Some, not all, people seem to be using the "buy experiences not things" mantra to justify their consuming desire to travel. I don't think that needs justifying. In particular, those that haven't traveled much, probably should if they can. It can be expensive but it broadens one's outlook.

Buying certain things can result in wonderful experiences you wouldn't otherwise have. And, certain experiences can result in acquiring interesting things that you wouldn't otherwise have. This isn't an "either, or" type of decision IMO.
+1
As in, I attend a potluck with friends (cost $5) and hear about a great trip that I decide to take (cost $4000).
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:25 AM   #11
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Buying certain things can result in wonderful experiences you wouldn't otherwise have. And, certain experiences can result in acquiring interesting things that you wouldn't otherwise have. This isn't an "either, or" type of decision IMO.
I just comes down to getting good value for your money. To me, it doesn't matter if it is an experience or a material object. Buying a kayak, mountain bike, nice camera, a musical instrument, or art supplies can provide years and years of enjoyment for a one time purchase. Or a home you love. I love making stir fries and enjoy my wok. There are all sorts of material purchases that you can truly enjoy. Some like a house or antiques may appreciate in value. Purchases often have resale value and can bring enjoyment for years and years, while one time experiences are over when they are over.

Here is a partial list of fun events in my area for today alone, not including all the parks, beaches, museums, flea markets, lakes and river activities that are always free or low cost:

San Francisco Events & Things to Do | FunCheapSF.com

Today we could see the Blue Angels, go on a sail boat ride, a free kayak ride, or do about a thousand other things and none of them cost money except gas.
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:30 AM   #12
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Certainly agree with placing experiences over material things. After all, isn't that the primary reason why most of us want to RE so we have more time to enjoy experiences.
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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There are many experiences we look forward to in the next few years that are not local or necessarily inexpensive. We hope to enjoy most of them!
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:24 PM   #14
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Daylatedollarshort touched on this and I wholeheartedly agree. Some of my material purchases (most notably my small fleet of touring kayaks) have provided decades of experiences that you simply cannot put a price on.

Material "things" can provide a gateway to an entire world of experiences.
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Buy Experiences, Not Things
Old 10-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #15
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Buy Experiences, Not Things

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Daylatedollarshort touched on this and I wholeheartedly agree. Some of my material purchases (most notably my small fleet of touring kayaks) have provided decades of experiences that you simply cannot put a price on.

Material "things" can provide a gateway to an entire world of experiences.

+1. Experiences have been giving me more satisfaction than material things for quite some time. The money that I've spent on hiking shoes, bicycles, kayak, and camera stuff has provided me far more satisfaction than the dollars I've spent on material things that don't provide for an enjoyable experience. I enjoy spending money on material things that provide for or enhance the experience. Almost all of my planned expenditures are for experiences.


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Old 10-12-2014, 06:33 PM   #16
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I'm not sure I understand the distinction between material items and experiences. When I buy a material item like a tent, camera, car the whole point is to facilitate new experiences.

I only feel unsatisfied if I don't use the item I purchased

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Old 10-12-2014, 06:57 PM   #17
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I also read about the concept, and as emphasis in my retirement has been more concentrating on spending for experience than simply buying expensive stuff to satisfy me. Although the two sometimes go hand in hand, I am getting out of the notion that buying things will satisfy me.
We pay for trips, concerts, restaurants, but will not splurge on sport's car, boat, or a big house.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:06 PM   #18
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Totally sold on the experiences over material things being the better way to spend some of your discretionary money. I also agree that some of the best experiences are free or low cost. We have been in Australia this last 3 months, half of which was spent staying for free with friends and relatives we rarely get to see. When we are paying for our own lodgings we like to rent apartments/cabins etc so we can cook for ourselves, wash our clothes without using a launderette, and get to know the local cafes. By choosing the location well one can also minimize costs on transportation. We have been in Tasmania for this last 2 weeks with another 2 weeks to go and are staying in Bellerive, just over the bay from Hobart. We expected to need to rent a car for a while but in fact the buses are so good and cheap that we will won't be renting a car at all. The local buses cover a pretty large area for a cost of ~$4 for a day rover. For example, yesterday we took 2 buses out to the base of Mt Wellington where there are loads of fantastic walking trails. We hiked to the summit which was a climb of 2,800', took us 5 hours, and ended the day eating pub food and drinking local ale. We'll be back again to do some of the other trails, but right out of our front door are fabulous beach walks and coastal trails or well marked trails in the hills behind us.

Next is Sydney where we have an apartment booked for a week, a place we stayed at in 1997, that is a 2 minute walk down to the jetty for the ferry over to Sydney. we'll also catch a train down from there down to Dapto to visit my aunt my cousins.

Great fun, and all the planning and expectation is very much part of the experience.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:07 PM   #19
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I'm not sure I understand the distinction between material items and experiences. When I buy a material item like a tent, camera, car the whole point is to facilitate new experiences.

I only feel unsatisfied if I don't use the item I purchased
It's a slight difference, kind of like "the means to an end vs just it being the means", where a kayak or a convertible (the means) gives you the ability to experience the actual activity (the ends). On the flip side, if you have to buy a new Mercedes convertible instead of a "low class, pre-owned proletariat" brand, then you're making the means more of the "end" versus the object just being an enabler to allow you experience the actual action. Or if you were to go on a cruise and booked the presidential suite instead of a more modest cabin. Yes, the largest suite on the ship would be neat to be in, but at such an enormous cost it wouldn't really enable you to experience all that much more than someone in a lower cabin would be able to experience on the cruise.

You could make an argument that a BMW has a long lifespan and handles well, etc., to which you merely have to fine tune your objectives and realize what is your pure splurge for an experience that you can afford vs just it being another purchase that you buy solely for the marketing hype and assume "it must be better because it costs more, therefore it will give me more satisfaction", rather than actually checking consumer reports performance ratings of something that costs more (for instance).
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:27 PM   #20
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Better yet get paid for great experiences.

My helicopter, amall aircraft charters, military close quarter combat, parachuting, learning extreme survival skills, hiking on Alaskan volcanoes, sailing the various seas from North atlantic to Antarctica, Indian Ocean etc.. Side trips in Africa, Far east and on and on were all paid for by my various employers. Plus many times full room and board, a bit cramped maybe at times.

Inside unescorted tours of Nuke generating plants, working with many really smart scientists, are just a few more experiences of my lifetime. All of them..... Priceless.

Buying kayaks, bicycles, 14 acres with a mancave, cars and trucks for different forms of experiences and entertainment well worth the $$$.

Heck I have at least 25 years worth of rocking chair reminiscing without needing to repeat any, if I choose to do nothing else from now on. And that is just by leaving out the bad memories. Add another ten if I add them in, can't think of a good reason to go over those.

Now the price to pay up front was faily low salary. Yet I still have enough to live the rest of my life quiet comfortably, and still have $ left for new toys.

Edit add: I almost forgot, had my own life size passanger carrying electric train set as well. Got paid to learn about them and and keep them running.
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