One of the best ways to make your money count, if you listen to people who write about money for a living, is to spend it on experiences. This is a great guideline, but it's not always a hard rule. Photo by abhisawa.
As personal finance site Keep Thrifty explains, we tend to remember our experiences and retain the feelings from those memories better than when we spend money on random junk. However, sometimes buying stuff is worthwhile. If your choice is between a gadget that makes your life better over the long run, or an experience you aren't likely to enjoy, the former is clearly better:
But what about a different example? Would I take a new laptop over a week by myself in New York City? For me, experiences are infinitely more meaningful when shared with my family. I'm also more of a nature guy than a big city guy, so being in a crowded city by myself would just stress me out. A new laptop on the other hand would run faster and would stop telling me that the hard drive is almost full.
There's also the fact that sometimes "stuff" can lead to experiences. Road trips are a great way to bond with your friends or family while taking in new sights. However, that car is stuff. You probably didn't buy your car just for a road trip. You bought it for your normal commute and took it on a trip. In that case, spending money on "stuff" helped enable your experiences.
Only you can decide which stuff or experiences are worth investing time and money in. Focusing on experiences is a great guideline to help keep your money away from frivolous infomercial garbage, but it's also OK to put some money into some stuff if it helps enhance your life.
Experience is Better Than Stuff - Except When It's Not [Keep Thrifty via Rockstar Finance]