Stuff doesn’t make you happy, experiences do

Many of my Facebook friends posted a link to a New York Times article , hitting the subject that Biggie Smalls summed up in a song a long time ago:  Mo Money, Mo Problems.   The article began with a couple who made a decent living, but found themselves on a treadmill, making money to keep up with their lifestyle.  They decided to shed many belongings and live more frugally.  Further along in the story, studies and experts agreed that it isn’t stuff (houses, cars, a new couch) that makes us happy long-term, but experiences (trips, cooking classes, facials).

I subscribe to the experiences-making-you-happy theory, which is why my husband and I traveled a lot in early on in our marriage and waited awhile to buy a dining room table and a bedroom set.  Because we were broke from traveling.

I am as guilty as the next person for conspicuous consumption, which an expert in the article defined as ‘buy without regard’.  I love to shop, I kind of consider poking around TJ Maxx an experience.  A trip to Target is relaxing and fun. (Except when the register rings at 200 dollars worth of I’m not sure what, although I know there was some cleaning stuff I needed in there).

My kids have too many toys and clothes.  I have too much makeup and too many clothes.  My husband has too many of those shirts that wick the sweat off your body when you run.  The story didn’t want to make me get rid of stuff and live like a monk because I do like my stuff.  I like to get rid of stuff on a regular basis but then bring in more stuff in (like furniture I find on the side of the road or that something special from TJ Maxx).   But the story did make me think about what is important and being on the treadmill of making money to sustain a lifestyle (which will be the subject of my next blog post).

Do you love to shop but wish the money you spent on stuff was in the college fund or the going on a trip fund?

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