Overlap Between Buying Experiences and Material Goods

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I’m taking a Coursera/Yale class on happiness called The Science of Well-Being. It covers the lies our brains tell us about what will make us happy and how to get around it. It’s loaded with good information. The major focus of the first video in week four is spending money on experiences will make you (and everyone around you) happier than purchasing material goods. I think there’s overlap between buying experiences and material goods in sense that some of the things you can purchase enable experiences.

The course discusses buying material goods such as cars, homes, fancy new tech toys, and the like. These are goods which are exciting to purchase but quickly become a regular part of everyday life. Experiences are things like vacations, concerts, etc, which last for a limited period of time. They’re too short for novelty to wear into boredom. We can’t just grow accustomed to the latter. They’re also more fun to talk about with friends, so they provide more happiness for longer.

However, some things enable new experiences by being owned. I’m gonna look at two examples here: needlework supplies and games.