The end to Storage Wars: Experiences, not stuff, really matters

The end to Storage Wars: Experiences, not stuff, really matters
Eileen St. Pierre, The Everyday Financial Planner

I recently read an article by Rick Newman that documented how Americans are now spending more money on things like airfare, hotels, and restaurants that help build experiences. He followed up with an article on how this change in consumer preferences is hurting Walmart. The accumulation of “stuff” is no longer as important. This is music to my ears.

Memories do not collect dust and are best shared.

28 days & 9266 milesMy husband and I take a lot of road trips. We are not picture takers. We are so busy enjoying our time together that we often forget we brought the camera. I don’t need some sort of cheesy trinket to remind me of how much fun we had – I’d rather put that money towards a picnic lunch or dinner at a Greek restaurant.

If we buy gifts for family when we are travelling, we buy things we know they will use. They have to wait until Christmas or their birthdays to receive them. Here’s the best part – when we give them their gifts we get to tell them the story of how we found their gift on our travels.

“Stuff” depreciates in value but memories become more valuable as we age.

Most of the stuff they sell at gift shops is made in China. The glow-in-the dark walking sticks your kids insisted on getting after visiting a national park will be broken by the time you get home. When you ask them 15 years later about the trip, they will remember how much fun you all had together, not the souvenirs. They may even pay you the ultimate compliment by taking their kids back to the same national park so they can share their memories.

Creating experiences does not have to be expensive.

You do not need to bust your budget and book an African safari. Taking a long weekend trip to the state next door and visiting their zoo will do just fine.

  • Take advantage of low gas prices this summer. State parks deserve to get more visitors.
  • You do not need to travel abroad to get a real change of scenery. In my home state of Oklahoma, we have rolling green hills in the northeast and desert sand dunes out in the Panhandle.

Need some help developing your “Experience” budget? Visit my  Basic Financial Management page for more information.