Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

      Advertising

      file1661238517583

        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!

        Advertising

        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!

          Advertising

          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

            More by this author

            10 Things Your Dreams Can Tell You About Yourself What Babies Would Say if They Had Twitter Accounts 17 Things Only Slow People Would Understand How You Should Communicate with Cat-People and Dog-People 27 Things Your Daughters Should Know by Age 10

            Trending in Money

            1 How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them 2 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education 3 How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps 4 5 Books You Must Read if You Want to Be a Millionaire in Your 20’s 5 20 Better Money Habits to Help You Increase Your Savings

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on August 20, 2019

            How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

            How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

            Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

            In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

            5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

            Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

            1. Be Clear About the Objectives

            Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

            It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

            Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

            2. Keep Them Realistic

            It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

            It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

            3. Account for Inflation

            Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

            Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

            For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

            4. Short Term vs Long Term

            Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

            As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

            More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

            Advertising

            5. To Each to His Own

            The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

            It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

            By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

            11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

            Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

            • Ensuring healthy savings
            • Making smart investments

            You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

            Ensuring Healthy Savings

            Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

            This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

            1. Track Expenses

            The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

            Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

            2. Pay Yourself First

            Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

            Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

            The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

            Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

            3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

            Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

            Advertising

            Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

            At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

            Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

            You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

            4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

            Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

            If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

            Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

            All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

            5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

            In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

            Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

            Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

            If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

            If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

            So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

            Advertising

            6. Talk About It

            Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

            Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

            7. Maintain a Journal

            For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

            So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

            Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

            When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

            At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

            Making Smart Investments

            Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

            8. Consult a Financial Advisor

            Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

            Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

            9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

            Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

            Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

            Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

            It is here where that classification will help.

            Advertising

            So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

            10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

            Einstein once remarked about compounding,

            Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

            So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

            Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

            11. Measure, Measure, Measure

            All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

            If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

            If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

            Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

            The Bottom Line

            This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

            As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

            More About Personal Finance Management

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

            Read Next