Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Value of Experiences

Apparently, science has more-or-less shown what some of my favorite self-help and financial bloggers have been saying for a while now:

Spending money on experiences, rather than things, is more satisfying.

At face value, I really like that idea.

But I'm an overthinker.

I've gotten clothing as a gift. If it didn't fit, I could exchange it. I'm grateful -- the clothing is usually close enough to my style that I'd wear it if I could -- but since something went wrong with it, it's easy to fix.

I've gotten experiences as a gift. And if something goes wrong there... well, it has. And not in a "Ha, wasn't that a hilarious adventure in retrospect!" kind of way.  More like a "Well, that's two days and X dollars I'm never getting back" kind of way.

I'm also a pessimist, by the way.

Then there's the in-between cases.  Sure, I can have a wonderful time with my friends for the price of a brick of cheese, a box of crackers, and a free book from the library.  And I do.

But when the whole group of friends enjoys good food and drink, does going to a fine restaurant count as "things" or "experiences"?

When we're hockey fans, does going to the game rather than watching it on TV at home count as "things" or "experiences"? Does the quality/price of the seat make a difference in the equation?

Or how about this one: Accumulating books or videos counts as spending money on things. But when it's your favorites, the ones you read once a year as if the changing of the seasons depended on it, or you pop in the DVD player to help you keep going on a bad night... don't those count as experiences?  And good ones, at that?

And does this answer to this question also answer this one?

What do you think?

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