“Why I’d Much Rather Take a Trip Than Buy a New Car…and More!”
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t’s a new year, and I’d be willing to bet a lot of y’all made New Year’s resolutions. If any of them relate to traveling more, you’ll be happy to know that the Million Mile Secrets team fully supports the idea of buying experiences, not things!
I’ll let team member Meghan tell you more.
Meghan: Thanks, Daraius! I’m a firm believer in the idea that you’ll get a lot more happiness from experiences rather than things. And that’s one of the reasons I love the miles & points hobby!
With miles & points, it’s easier to prioritize travel and experiences over just buying and collecting stuff. Because you can use the rewards you earn to supplement your travel budget and make lasting memories with friends and loved ones!
Here are 4 great reasons you should spend your hard-earned money on experiences instead of things.
1. Experiences Help You Grow as a Person
It’s better to spend your money on experiences, like travel, instead of being a typical consumer of stuff. Because, for example, I can nearly guarantee that you won’t learn any life lessons or build your self-confidence by buying a fancy new phone cover. 😉
That said, whenever I travel, I tend to learn more about myself. Whether it’s how to handle a stressful situation, be resourceful, or relate to others, especially when you don’t speak the same language. These are lessons that easily translate into your personal and professional life. And help you have a happier, more meaningful existence.
2. Experiences Lead to Longer-Lasting Happiness
Ever been ecstatic about buying a beautiful new pair of shoes, only to have that feeling fade a week or 2 later? This is the idea psychologists call “hedonic adaptation.” That means our excitement over new things fades as we adapt to having them around.
I’m sure everyone is familiar with the rush you get from buying a shiny new iPhone or driving off the lot in a brand new car. But once those items become integrated into your everyday life, the high eventually fades.
In contrast, spending money on experiences, like going to dinner with a loved one or traveling to a friend’s wedding, will bring you long-lasting memories. This can bring you much more satisfaction than material possessions ever will!
3. Stuff Can Literally (and Metaphorically!) Weigh You Down
Owning a lot of things can be a burden. And can make it harder to be agile and mobile if and when you need to be. There’s something to be said for living minimally!
Say, for example, you get a wonderful new job offer on the other side of the country. It’s easier to say “yes” to those types of opportunities when you aren’t too worried about lugging around all of the things you own!
For me, physical clutter also directly relates to mental clutter. If I have a lot of stuff around, it’s harder to focus and accomplish my goals. And I remind myself of this when considering each and every purchase!
Is this “thing” a need or a want? Will it serve a purpose in my life? How will I feel about owning it a week, month, or year, from now? That way I don’t make too many frivolous purchases. And I don’t end up with hoards of knickknacks everywhere!
4. Experiences Make Awesome Gifts
I wrote about Honeyfund, the wedding registry that lets you register for experiences instead of things. And I think the same idea can apply to any sort of gift. Whether it be for an anniversary, birthday, graduation, or whatever!
I LOVE giving unique gifts like passes to someone’s favorite music event, a gift card for fancy dinner, or tickets to an art show. With miles & points, it’s even possible to give the gift of travel!
I promised my mom a trip to Portugal in celebration of her retirement. And I’ve already started saving up my rewards for it!
The gifts of travel and experiences are great for kids, too. And can be extremely educational.
For example, what better way to pique someone’s interest in art history than to take a tour of the Louvre? Or how about a road trip through Boston, Philadelphia, and Virginia, to learn about American history? Having experiences like these is a wonderful way to learn.
If you’re looking for a surefire way to increase your happiness, consider spending your money on experiences rather than things.
Memories made with friends and loved ones, like from a dinner out or a trip somewhere special, are much more meaningful than a new pair of shoes or a fancy cell phone! And spending your money on creating these memories will be more gratifying in the long run.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)