What’s Been the Best Use of Your Money So Far?

Hope you’ve been having a great weekend so far! Mine has been pretty relaxing. My fiancé’s father was in town, so we hung out with him and enjoyed the city. We saw Spy on Friday night (amazing! who doesn’t love Melissa McCarthy?) and have been eating our way through West Los Angeles – highlights have included brick oven pepperoni pizza, graham cracker frozen yogurt and spaghetti squash sautéed in garlic. We’ve also been running long-delayed errands.

While we were wandering around in Bed, Bath and Beyond yesterday and I was fawning over expensive Keurig coffee makers, I started thinking about money. Specifically, how money makes us happy. Many of us have more disposable income in our 30s and we’re able to spend more money on things like rent for nicer apartments, clothing, electronics, trips and having children. Granted, I’m not as far along money/nest-egg wise since I was just in graduate school, but it seems fair to say that most 30-somethings are financially better-off than they were in their 20s.

So the question circling around in my head yesterday was: what’s been the best use of your money in your life so far? For me, it’s been anything education or writing related: writing workshops, grad school expenses, the cost of entering competitions and trips. All of these are experiences, which most research says make a person happier than spending money on material purchases. There’s a great article about this phenomenon in Fast Company, The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money on Experiences, Not Things.

I found this particular aspect to the rationale of spending money on experiences fascinating:

You’re also much less prone to negatively compare your own experiences to someone else’s than you would with material purchases. One study conducted by researchers Ryan Howell and Graham Hill found that it’s easier to feature-compare material goods (how many carats is your ring? how fast is your laptop’s CPU?) than experiences. And since it’s easier to compare, people do so.

– Author, Jay Cassano

I guess it’s also because we all value such different experiences. I’m sure a ton of people would find spending $500 on a writing course that meets for three hours one night a week after work to be a waste. They might rather take a weekend trip to go sky-diving.

Looking back on your spending in your life thus-far, what’s been the most profound bang for your buck, so to speak?

 

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