1 Oct 2019
After a 20-year study by a psychology professor at Cornell University, the results are in — you will be happier if you spend your money on experiences instead of material things.
According to a Forbes.com article on the research, Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University conducted a study on whether spending money on material items or experiences makes people happier. Generally, people assume since a material possession lasts longer than an experience, the positive feeling you get from purchasing it will last just as long. However, that’s not the case.
Gilovich explains, “They think the experience will come and go in a flash and they’ll be left with little compared to owning an item. But in reality, we remember experiences long afterward, while we soon become used to our possessions.” This is because the feeling we get from newly purchasing a material item wears off as time passes. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.” The fact that experiences do pass by so quickly makes them seem more special and more valuable to us.
On the other hand, experiences become embedded as part of our identity and create lifetime memories associated with a positive feeling that can be accessed anytime that we want to have that feeling again. And it isn’t just reminiscing on past experiences that gives us joy. Even anticipating a new, upcoming experience causes us to be happier than anticipating a new purchase.
One of our flaws as humans is that we are always trying to keep up with the Joneses but Gilovich explains that while we can easily compare our new purchase to a friend’s new purchase, we don’t do the same thing with experiences. No two experiences are ever the same and since an experience makes you who you are, no one else can have the same experience as you.
Lastly, even our regret is stronger when we don’t spend money on an experience. If you skip out on a trip with your friends and regret missing that experience, you’ll regret it deeper and longer than if you decide not to purchase that designer shirt you saw on sale.
So, what does that mean exactly? It may be time to recalculate your expenses and consider taking the extra money you’re spending on material items and saving it for an experience instead… and we have just the suggestion. Book a vacation at the Outer Banks and let the experience of a beautiful place and a fun, family adventure become part of your personal history. Not only do experiences make you happier but research shows that being by the ocean is actually good for you… that’s double the reason to hit the beach ASAP! Still not sure a vacation is the right way to spend your money? Learn about the other benefits of taking vacation and how vacation deprivation can affect your health.
Don’t have a full week to get away? That’s alright too! Not only do we offer several rentals allowing a 3-day minimum stay (perfect for a long weekend getaway!) but research shows that even short vacations are still good for you.
Ready to get that boost of joy from planning your experience? We’re here to help! Click the button below to find your dream vacation home or reach out to us by clicking the chat icon on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen and our trained vacation specialists will help you find a rental that suits your specific needs! Come experience your one of a kind OBX moment because money spent on an Outer Banks Vacation is money well spent.