By Chris Riotta
When it’s payday and that direct deposit hits your account, you tend to swipe your card more in a day than your thumb swipes through Facebook, Instagram and Tinder combined.
The instant gratification that comes along with the hefty price tags on new clothes, trendy sneakers and expensive jewelry is satisfying enough to be considered an actual addiction.
But it’s crucial for us to remember the importance of investing in our life experiences even more so than splurging on the next big thing from our favorite designer; it’s true that money can’t buy you happiness.
In fact, it seems the happiest people in this world have found a way to distance themselves from shopping addictions and unnecessary spending.
Instead, those people put their money toward travel, experience and memories, and it certainly pays off.
If we all start to invest in our futures more than our sneakers, our lives will be more beautiful than anything money could buy.
Life is about memories, not diamonds.
Just think about it: At the end of your life, are you going to be reminiscing about the fact that you had an iPhone 6 Plus while everyone else was still using the 5, or are you going to recall golden memories you shared with the people who shaped who you’ve become?
A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows people who made expensive purchases on products rather than experiential investments often devalued a new item’s worth directly after buying it, according to the Huffington Post.
The researchers from San Francisco State University found people do, in fact, understand life is all about the memories we create, but we get so caught up in trends and demand that we cave and make purchases we’ll inevitably regret.
Before they even made the purchases, study participants said life experiences would be more beneficial than buying the latest and greatest items on their wish lists.
After buying whatever their heart temporarily desired, participants soon realized they would much rather have put that money toward an experience, which would have increased their happiness for a more sustained amount of time.
Focus on what makes you happy, not what makes you famous.
Research from Cornell University shows Millennials are tempted to make many of their purchases from society’s influence, which makes things like diamond watches and gold chains not only super expensive, but appealing and trendy as well.
We are just as much a product of our society as the shiny, expensive gifts and toys we exchange on a daily basis, if not more.
What sets us apart from our ancestors is that we are enveloped in the world of social media, and just about anything we buy is photographed for shameless self-promotion.
Dr. Thomas Gilovich is a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been looking for a link between money and happiness.
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.
Gilovich makes a great point here.
I’m not saying you should never reward a couple of hard weeks at work with a new outfit and a night out, but our larger investments should go toward experiences that create lifelong memories rather than an item that will lose its “cool” factor within a few years (if it’s lucky).
Gilovich tells Fast Company,
Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.
Lose the price tag and explore the world around you.
The Next Web reports there are 79 million Millennials in the United States, three million more than the notorious Baby Boomer generation that is responsible for many of the jobs, industries and government programs at our disposal.
But industries are going to have to re-evaluate Gen-Y if they want to target us in their advertising. Most of us are starting to realize the priceless advantages of spending our hard-earned money on things like travel, education and creative activities.
Researchers say companies will need to adapt to this shift in mentality in order to compete and survive in this generation’s new world.
Ultimately, these are longer-term investments in our own individual happiness.
By spending more of our money on things that enhance our life — filling us with golden memories and unforgettable adventures — we aren’t just changing the industries that surround us, we’re shedding some much-needed positivity and light on the world.
Each day we’re convinced to buy things we don’t need, spend money we don’t have and purchase garbage that loses its value within a matter of weeks.
Generation-Y is one of the largest, most influential groups of society, and we have the unique ability to control the fate of our wallets and investments in life.
Why buy the latest phone when you can put that $400 toward a plane ticket to a country you’ve never been before?
People who constantly live with their future goals, investments and happiness at the forefront of their minds tend to live much happier lives than the rest of consumers swamped in products and bullsh*t.
It’s time to stop swiping the cards every time we get paid and start thinking about the memories we could be making with just a little bit of extra savings and a road map.
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