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This Is Why You Might Spend Money On Experiences, Not Things

This Is Why You Might Spend Money On Experiences, Not Things

What are the things that you value most? One way to find out is by looking at how you spend your money. You’ve worked hard for your income, and you want to make the most of it. So, what’s really important to you? What are the things that you will cherish, that will always make you smile and will stay with you forever? It is the experiences that will last a lifetime, that you will look back on with joy and appreciation. A tangible purchase may give you a thrill, but consider investing in some memories, instead. Not convinced? Here are some reasons you might want to flip through that entertainment brochure, instead of browsing that product catalog.

Natural Disasters Happen

Life happens. Floods happen. Fires happen. Tornadoes happen. You get the picture. Your life can change in an instant, and a lifetime of accumulation can be lost forever. But your experiences are a permanent part of you. You may lose your photo albums, but the way you felt when you first saw the mountains, the activities you enjoyed on your first cruise, and that sunset you saw over the water in Hawaii — those memories will be with you forever.

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IMG_5643 by Sgarton in morguefile

    Things Go Out of Style, Degrade, Fade, and Disappear

    Do you still have bell-bottoms in your closet? Are your old computers, printers, and CD players still stored in the basement? It seems impossible to keep up with technology or fashion trends — they’re always changing! But your experiences are right here, right now. In fact, you may want to take advantage before you miss something! The rising waters of Venice are not going to recede for you. Old Beijing didn’t wait for you, and neither will the Amazonian rainforests in Brazil. That fantastic new tea shop will close if no one visits, and your favorite drive-in still needs movie-viewers.

    Bristol's Biggest Bike-ride (9)

      Items Change Value

      Though some items do increase in value, there’s no guarantee. Vases can chip, paintings can rip, rugs unravel, and cars lose thousands of dollars in value once you drive them off the lot. But your experiences are priceless. What kind of value can you put on biking your first century ride? What about that time those two dolphins raced alongside your boat, or that proposal you received at Moraine Lake? Do you also suck in your breath when you first see the ocean? After I got my first big job, I immediately treated myself to a Rick Steve’s Tour to Europe — one of the best decisions of my life. Money can’t buy you love, and it can’t buy you that perfect memory either.

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        Clutter!

        I don’t think anyone intends to become a hoarder — it starts a little at a time! I want a lifestyle in which I can pack up at a moment’s notice and take an RV across the country! If you’ve ever had to move, you know how cumbersome all of those little knicknacks, holiday decorations, and assorted this-and-thats can become. Forget the stuff — pack up your necessities and head for the coast! And forget those mementos, just take lots of pictures! Digital photos take up space in your computer, not in your house!

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        IMG_5054  Seeman from morguefile

          Shared Experiences

          Your stuff is just yours. Your computer, your car, your clothes, your coffee, your e-mails, your life. Isn’t it better when we share? How about that Cork & Canvas night with your friends? What about a fancy New Year’s Celebration in the city? Will you ever forget that first concert? Or your first time to the theater or the ballet?

          Do you like to be alone on your birthday? How about a group trip to Las Vegas? Or what about a cross-country road trip to see the Corn Palace and the world’s biggest rocking chair? You may not live in a palace, but you and your friends can take a tour of Hearst Castle! Or you can frequent that hole-in-the-wall that you and your friends have been meaning to try. Are you tired of watching your favorite team lose on TV? It’s always a good time at the ball park/court/stadium/rink! And I’d trade gifts for a dinner and game night any day. Create shared memories. They bring you and your loved ones closer together, and they are a great substitution for day-to-day small talk!

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          bang from morguefile

            Change Your Life

            Have you ever heard anyone on their death bed say, “I wish I’d bought that yacht.” Or “If I could have done it all over again, I would have bought that big screen/those diamond earrings?” Life is not about the tangibles. They stay behind when we go, and may be fought over by our descendants! We always want to have loved more, learned more, lived more. The love and memories we leave behind will last. Those unforgettable special experiences — and the hijinks — may be passed on from generation to generation. With every big or little adventure, you create a whole new you. Change your life, change a life! Visit that daughter in another state. Try that sushi restaurant; take your spouse salsa dancing! Take that mission trip and leave with a bigger heart. Live abroad and learn a new language; change your perspective of the world. Or just take a helicopter or balloon ride to overcome your fear of heights and get a whole new view!

            If all the world is a stage, don’t get stuck on the props! Don’t create a mountain of stuff — go out and experience life!

            Featured photo credit: FidlerJan via morguefile.com

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            Last Updated on July 10, 2020

            The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

            The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

            Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

            Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

            Identifying All of Your Debts

            The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

            Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

            1. Own Your Debt

            Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

            Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

            2. Make a Debt Tracker

            It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

            Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

            3. Get Your Debt Number

            Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

            Prioritizing Your Debts

            All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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            1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

            Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

            There are three main types of bad debt:

            • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
            • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
            • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

            Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

            • Student Loan Debt
            • Mortgage Loan
            • Business Loans

            2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

            Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

            Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

            If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

            3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

            Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

            Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

            Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

            1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

            “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

            It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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            Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

            Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

            2. Hide Your Credit Cards

            If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

            Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

            3. Automate Everything

            Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

            4. Plan Ahead

            Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

            For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

            5. Live Cheaply

            The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

            • Live with roommates
            • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
            • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
            • Take public transit or bike to work

            Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

            The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

            If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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            1. Maintain a High Credit Score

            Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

            • Never miss a payment
            • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
            • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
            • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
            • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

            2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

            Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

            Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

            If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

            How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

            Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

            1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

            Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

            Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

            2. Earn More Money

            There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

            Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

            Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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            Talk to Your Boss

            Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

            Start a Side Hustle

            This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

            Build an Online Business

            There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

            3. Celebrate Your Wins

            As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

            While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

            4. Set New Financial Goals

            Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

            Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

            These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

            Conclusion

            Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

            Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

            More Tips on Getting out of Debt

            Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

            Reference

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