Part of being minimalist is being frugal. But not frugal in the way that you don’t spend money on anything. On the contrary, a lot of minimalist spend a lot of money. Some love minimalist design, and would splash out on modern minimalist furniture. But there’s also a different kind of minimalist, one that likes to splash out… on experiences.
experiences vs. stuff
When you buy a lot of stuff, you are hoping that all of these things will make your life better. Some of them might, like a new laptop to replace your old failing one, or even a whole pile of books. But buying too much of certain things like clothes and gadgets etc. can blind you to the fact that there’s no way that they’re making you truly happy. Sure, you’ll be smiling for a while about it, but it will only last a few days, or until the thing is lost or broken. What you’re really doing is ‘hopping’ from one source of happiness to the next, which creates the illusion that you’re happy.
If you think back to your fondest memories, what are they? I’m sure it’s not all about having the presents you got for Christmas or your birthday, but rather the memory of being surrounded by lot’s of people who cared enough to give you one, and all the fun you had playing with them… it’s the experience that counts.
Memories are a powerful thing. We all want to create happy memories for ourselves, which will keep us smiling for decades. How do we do it? By spending our time, effort and money on creating them through great experiences.
how to create memories
1. Throw a party. If you have a friend’s birthday coming up, or even if you don’t, why not throw a party? It can be big with lot’s of people and balloons or just a small one with a few select friends. Either way, bring a camera, dress up, (drink?) and smile. With lot’s of people gathered around, fun things are bound to happen. Make it a night you’ll remember for years to come!
2. Go for a day out. Wherever you live, there’s bound to be something interesting to do. You just have to look for it. Luckily, we have Google Maps 😉 Why not grab your best friend and go to the zoo/aquarium, skydiving/bungee jumping, to the the local museum, out for a fancy dinner, to the beach… the list goes on. If you manage to do something that you’ve never done before, you would have achieved something amazing that day.
3. Give an experience. Instead of the usual gift of bath soaps, CD’s, or gift vouchers, try giving somebody an experience. Take them out or pay for something they can do. If it’s a little more expensive, ask around for friends to chip in. If they have a lot of fun, they’ll be much more grateful for your present than if you gave them a regular one.
4. Take a holiday. You can go on ‘holiday’ anywhere, even just a few miles from your house. But if you go to a different country, try to go to a place that has more to offer than just the sun. Sunbathing is highly overrated and a complete waste if you ask me. If I wanted to lounge about, I could have done it in my garden. Instead, go to places where you can only do stuff only in that country. Like tasting the local cuisine, chatting to the local people or hiking/climbing towards breathtaking views.
5. Travel. Finally, I believe that some of the best experiences in life come from travelling. I don’t just mean taking a holiday for a few weeks, I mean travelling. There aren’t many experiences that are more fulfilling than seeing the world. One of my blogging heroes Chris Guillebeau knows it all too well, and his goal is to visit every country in the world. Starting this summer, I will be travelling abroad for a whole year (a post about this is coming soon). I will be studying, working and seeing a world a lot different than mine. Doing something drastic like this can completely change your whole outlook on life. Yes, I will be spending money, but somehow I know it will be much more satisfying than buying that ‘xyz’ I saw in the store the other day.
EDIT: Just as I finished writing this post, I noticed an interesting article in my feed, check out the links for solid research evidence.
“If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right” is the name of a study being published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology according to this New York Times article which talks about how spending money on experiences can give you more lasting happiness than spending it on stuff. It also features another one of my blogger heroines Tammy Strobel from Rowdykittens.com.