Memories Have the Best ROI Money Can Buy

For as much as I read (and write) about frugality and keeping up with the Joneses, sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and thinking about what all of this is for.  Family, friends, hobbies, sports, whatever puts a smile on your face is what I’m talking about today.

The focus of budgeting is ensuring you’re getting the best bang for your buck and investing your hard earned money in ways that are compatible with your goals.  It’s easy to take this to an extreme and cut all spending to the point of impacting your own happiness.  That’s called throwing out the baby with the bath water.

But money doesn’t buy happiness!

Money may not buy happiness, but it sure can go a long way towards improving your life in ways that support happiness.  Saving your whole life and foregoing life’s pleasures only to arrive at your death bed with millions in the bank isn’t exactly the best approach to maximizing your happiness.  So how do you spend your money in ways that will support your happiness?

You can’t take it with you.

Forbes recently reported that 74% of Americans prioritize experiences over material purchases.  And it makes sense!  Think about your memories of family and friends.  Maybe you remember riding in the car down to the local gas station for a slushie with your grandpa.  Do you recall what kind of car he drove?  Of course not, because the car doesn’t matter.  What matters is spending that time with your grandpa and getting a nice treat at the gas station.

People enjoy talking about experiences more than possessions.

Consider your own personal life: when you’re talking with friends or co-workers do you better enjoy talking about items you own or experiences you’ve had?  Do people react more positively when you brag about your new stereo or when you tell them about your recent adventure in Jamaica?  The best biographies contain great adventures and exciting life experiences, not a detailed inventory of the person’s gadgets.

Another Forbes article had an excellent quote on the subject, “you don’t really want to own a horse, you want to ride a horse and there is a big difference.

Possessions once served as a status symbol and were a source of pride.  But more recently it is seen as hollow and superficial to have a life full of convenient material objects without any warm experiences to add spice and fulfillment to life.  What are you doing this weekend to experience life?