For most of us the summer holiday season is all-but over and we are well back into the routine of work and the joys of Christmas are a distant memory.  What was your highlight, the Christmas pressies or the holiday experiences?

If we asked a child this question, they would probably struggle to remember all the presents they got, but would go into excited detail about the trip to the zoo or the sand castle building competition or what ever their outing was.

That first day back at work and someone asked how the holidays were, did you talk about the new gizmo you got for Christmas or the experiences you had with friends camping or the overseas trip?  The topic of the conversation will give you a pretty good idea of what makes you happier, stuff or experiences.

Research is ongoing into this fascinating topic of what makes us happier

Dr Thomas Gilovich, a psychologist from Cornell University has been studying the link between money and happiness for several decades.  He has this to say, “We buy things to make us happy and we succeed, but only for a little while.  New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

Buying a new car (or TV, couch, etc) will make us happy, however it will be short lived.  The car becomes part of our life routine and we start to search for new ways of finding happiness.

Experiences, on the other hand, linger on in our memory.  Something we see or hear will trigger a fond memory of a trip somewhere and that experience becomes part of our identity.

Experiences tend to have a life of their own.  We can easily relive them which often leads to animated conversations with friends who have visited the same places or we’ll compare notes about shows we’ve have been to, or recommend a good movie to others.

Dr Gilovich continues, “You can really like your material stuff.  You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you.  In contrast, your experiences really are a part of you.  We’re the sum total of our experiences.”

Thinking back on the last couple of months, what made you happier, stuff or experiences?  Your answer will give you a very good guide into how you want to spend your money in the future.

Make two lists

So, don’t just keep a list of ‘stuff’ you would love to own.  Make another list of all the places you would like to see and things you would like to do.

Before you spend your hard earned cash, have a look at both lists and ask yourself, “right now which will make me happier, stuff or experiences?”

For the past three years, we’ve hosted Workaways during the summer and autumn months.  It’s a great way to introduce overseas travellers to our part of NZ and in return they help us get things done around the farm at a busy time of the year.

Without doubt every one of our ‘guests’ are not just travellers but adventurers.  It’s the experiences and diversity that they find around the world that they love.  It’s these experiences they will treasure and live with them forever.

At the risk of sounding like a travel agent… if you’re new to NZ (even if you’re not!) have a look at these stunning places, beaches and campsites,

If you have any questions around this or you would like to discover how you can change your experience with money, then drop us an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with us.  Best of all – it’s free!