One of the biggest differences between my husband and me is the way we like to spend our money. I prefer experiences, and he likes things. While my husband does enjoy some experiences, like eating out and going to sporting events, he enjoys collecting things quite a bit. For my husband, being able to have something tangible to show for his money — something he can pull out and look at — is a Big Deal.
I, however, really don’t care much for things. While I do enjoy various types of weaponry, and wouldn’t mind having a couple more high-quality sharp things about the house, when confronted with a choice, I’d rather go somewhere I haven’t been before, or spend a relaxing couple of hours at the spa.
My husband has asked me why I prefer experiences to things, so I thought about why I feel it’s worth it to spend money on experiences. Here are 5 reasons I prefer experiences to things:
Experiences Don’t Result in Clutter
I don’t like clutter. One of the biggest reasons that I prefer experiences is that I don’t have to find a place to put them in the house. We have several plastic bins full of action figures in our crawl space. Figuring out what to do with those items was a source of some consternation for a few months.
A good experience, though, is enjoyable and it doesn’t take up room in the house. I can keep the house clutter-free, which in turn helps me maintain feelings of well being.
I Don’t Have to Worry about Loss with Experiences
When you have a bunch of things, you have to worry about loss. What happens if the house is damaged? You have to work with the insurance company to try and recapture the value of those items. You run the risk of losing things to any number of disasters, and you have to worry about theft to boot.
While there is a chance that my memory will fade, and I could lose some of the experiences in my head, I still have back-ups to help job my memory. Pictures saved in the cloud can be referred to, and it’s easier to store a pile of pictures in a fireproof/waterproof safe than it is to protect all of the things you might accumulate.
Experiences Don’t Decrease in Value
One of the unfortunate attitudes many of us have toward stuff is that we think it is as good as having the money. In truth, though, with a few exceptions, most of the things you buy are going to lose value. The memories that you gain from experiences, though, are likely to become more valuable as time passes. While I suppose my husband attaches sentimental value to some of his things — and that can’t be measured in money — for me, things tend to lose their luster after awhile. But the memory of a great experience is always bright in my mind.
Experiences vs. Things
Ultimately, it’s a matter of perspective. I would rather go out to dinner at a nice restaurant than have another knick-knack for the shelf. I would rather have a weekend getaway than buy a new TV. If I can’t have an awesome experience for some reason, I like reading, since it’s sort of like experiencing something out of the ordinary. (But I’ve becoming attached to my Kindle, so I have fewer books taking up space in my house.)
It seems incredible to my husband that I would rather spend money on travel — something that lasts a few days and then comes to an end — than on a tangible object that can be touched again and again. At the same time, I have a hard time understanding why my husband would rather have all these objects, when he could experience something new and interesting.
There is not right answer as to what is better; it’s about what you prefer. The key is figuring out what’s important to you, and then spending your money on what matters to you, rather than using it in ways that you don’t find fulfilling.
What do you think? Experiences or things? And why?