Home > Personal Finance > 5 Reasons to Spend Less & Do More

Comments 0 Comments

Life can seem really expensive — all the items we “need” add up. I needed that new smartphone, and I spent too much on a dress I wore once. I needed the coolest toaster oven even though I just make frozen pizzas. I need a new car, a big house and lots of things to fill it.

All these may seem like worthwhile purchases, but they don’t necessarily help anyone live better. Being wise with expenses means having priorities and spending smartly while making sacrifices. Everyone has different desires and means, but living to the fullest without breaking the bank is all about choices. Here are five reasons to choose experiences over stuff.

1. Experiences Last Longer

Memories don’t go out of style as quickly as a trendy top or up-to-date gadget. The competition to buy luxury goods can be expensive and pointless. Having the best phone won’t get you to a better day any quicker than the old model will. Pictures and “remember whens” are priceless and timeless, no matter how short the experience actually was. Take getting engaged — the story of how it happened is likely to be more cherished than the ring.

2. Experiences Are Unique

Anyone can have the same commodity as you, but no one can have the same experience as you — even if they were in the same place at the same time. There is something inherently special about something that is all your own.

3. Relationships Bring Happiness

Nothing brings the happiness that friendships, loves and family provides. You can spend money on a new outfit for a fancy night out. But what you actually bought won’t be as memorable as the subjects you discussed, the laughs you shared, and the memories you made during the night. Spend less on what you’re buying and more attention to the people.

4. Experiences Are Often Free (or Cheap)

Take advantage of everything life, nature and people have to offer. I think some experiences are worth the money, like seeing a show or live music, but even these genres have cheap or free options worth exploring. The experience is about what you take out of it, so no matter how much you spend on it, the potential for fulfillment is the same.

For example, I wanted to see an opera while in Vienna. I wanted to experience it but instead of paying for a front row seat, I bought a standing room only ticket for 2 Euro. I could hear the music and appreciate the beautiful architecture of the opera house just the same.

5. Experiences lead to positive emotions

Scientists have proved that major consumption does not correlate to happiness. Making purchases toward leisure activities are the only payments that have a direct relationship to joy. Sports, vacations and entertainment are great ways to defeat loneliness, build new relationships and harvest experiences. A new headboard can’t do that.

We have all heard that money isn’t the key to happiness — but we need to remember that commodities don’t necessarily bring satisfaction or fulfillment. Money can provide a lot of great experiences — but you can also make the most of every situation and actively try to do more with your time to make you feel better.

Next time you feel tempted to shop online or buy a new gadget, try going for a walk, contacting an old friend or meeting someone new. Those are the things with real value.

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team