3 Things That Happened When I Started Spending Money On Experiences, Not Things

Spending money on experiences instead of things is a concept that was lost on me until I was about twenty-five years old. Although, my twenty-two year old self would probably argue that spending money at a bar counted as spending money on experiences. That version of myself was missing the point.

Since I’ve shifted focus to spending my money on experiences there have been three things in particular that stood out to me.

Number One: The Way I View Money Changed

When I started spending money on experiences I noticed a subconscious shift in the way I viewed money.

I dream of a day when I will be able to afford to do everything I want to do without having to think twice about it. Until then, I have a finite amount of income to spend on the “fun stuff”.

When I was spending my money on things, I didn’t have a strong understanding of the value of money. I saw tangible items: a dress, a purse, a watch, etc. I had no emotional attachment to these items and as a result I had no emotional attachment to the money I was spending on them. I would swipe my credit card and only acknowledge the amount spent in that transaction. I wouldn’t pay any mind to what my purchases were adding up to each year. Spoiler – it was a lot.

Also, I’d like to make it known that because I had zero emotional attachment to the things I was buying, I ended up donating about 95% of what I bought. I basically just threw thousands of dollars out the window. [Insert eye roll emoji]

When I shifted my focus to spending on experiences I began to think seriously about what I was spending. This was primarily because of the fact that spending on experiences usually means shelling out a large amount of money all at once (let’s say $1,000 for argument’s sake). Rather than mindlessly swiping my credit card to pay for $100 dresses here and there, I had to sit down and think about (1) if I could afford to spend $1,000 on an experience and (2) if the experience was worth the cost.

Now, not only was I no longer mindlessly spending money on things, but I was also being mindful and strategic in the way I was spending my money on experiences.

As a result, I actually began to save a lot more. The experiences that I chose to spend my money on did not cost nearly as much as the frequent shopping sprees. Also, thinking in terms of spending $1,000 at once meant that if I saw I had $500 of fun money available, I wouldn’t bother spending it on things. Rather, I would work to save an additional $500 so I could afford any potential experiences that came my way. Sometimes an experience would come my way, sometimes it wouldn’t. When it didn’t I just found myself with $1,000 extra dollars. I will gladly take that!

Number Two: Memories From Experiences Last A Lifetime

As I mentioned before, I donated about 95% of the things I mindlessly purchased when I was younger.

You know what? I can’t even tell you what a single donated item looked like. It is completely wiped from my memory.

Unlike all of the things I donated, I still remember each and every experience I chose to spend money on.

I remember hearing Paul McCartney play Hey Jude while the crowd sang along so loud that even Paul McCartney himself stopped to smile and take it all in.

I remember all of the waterfalls my friends and I saw in Oregon.

I remember that Christmas I spent in Maine with my sister. I remember listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album on repeat, drinking copious amounts of red wine, and binging Netflix series.

My heart feels so full when I think back on all the memories I have made with the people that I love the most in the world. On my most stressful days at work, I look back at all of my saved Snapchat stories and as I watch, I can feel a weight being lifted off my chest. I struggle to keep my laughter quiet as I watch videos of my sister dancing around her house in a Christmas onesie. I am forced into a meditative state when I watch the videos of lakes, waterfalls, oceans, and rivers from all over the United States.

To me, this is priceless. Yes, the experiences cost money but what I got in return will last me a lifetime!

Number Three: Experiences Allow Me To Connect With People On A Deeper Level

There is something unique about the bond formed between people who value experiences over things. It’s unspoken, simple, and seamless. The conversation easily flows as both sides swap stories about where they’ve been and where they’re going. Sometimes you get a good laugh or a recommendation of where to go, sometimes you learn a valuable lesson from that person’s experiences, and sometimes that person becomes one of your closest friends.

The best part about these bonds is that they don’t require any amount of work to keep the friendship alive. There is a mutual level of love and respect that is simply unbreakable.

These relationships make everything worth it!

IMG_5115
Firefly Music Festival June 2015. I still remember it like it was yesterday! Just looking at this picture brings me a tremendous amount of joy!

If any of this resonated with you, I strongly encourage you to take a step back and evaluate the way you are spending your money! It’s a great big beautiful world out there, filled with incredible people, and unforgettable experiences!

It’s time to go explore!

Love & light,

Annie

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