Stop Buying Social Status Items! Does it Really Make Us Happy or Fulfilled?

Human brain is amazing and If I were to choose my major again – I would choose psychology and particularly the study of human behavior.

Today, everyone desires some type of social status and it is one of the most important factors that drive human behavior and shape who you, me, and everyone around are today.

If you are sitting in an office, a coffee shop, or anywhere reading this post where there are people, take a moment and look around at other people and I bet you will be able to tell the class difference on income levels.

After you looked around, I can tell you that majority of people who dress rich, have expensive jewelry, an expensive car parked outside, or any other object or an item that gets your attention and makes you think “oh, this person is rich!” is just your automatic brain behavior to the items that you see, can you believe it? Now, I am not saying that this applies to everyone you see and some people are rich or so-called 1%-ers and the chances of you knowing that are pretty slim unless it is a public figure like a celebrity or some sports star.

Materialism is a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

Buying Status Items Can And Will Most Likely Backfire

Almost everyone has Instagram now and I am sure you are following some kind of celebrity or motivational account to motivate you, there’s nothing wrong with that and in fact that’s why there is now such an industry where people make money from motivating other people. It is great to be motivated and a lot of people do get out and bust themselves out and work hard to achieve what they desire. Many do not, but instead give up on trying hard and just settle with their lives. Both cases are normal human behavior, if everybody were to become rich, what would happen in society? How will people compete against each other? That’s right, this will never happen and there will always be different income levels in human society.

How can it backfire though?

Buying Status Items will most likely run you into debt sooner or later and this road is all down hill from there. In U.S buying expensive “wants” is possible like clothes, expensive, watches, latest tech, cars, even renting luxury cars and paying hundreds of dollars for that feeling of satisfaction and happiness. Then unfortunately, all of this backfires and we will want only more.

This is particularly the reason why we have so many different levels of purchase options. When we buy a plane ticket, we are faced with upgrade to comfort, business, or a first class right there and it does make us think for a second, why don’t I upgrade to first class? We rent a car and we will constantly get bombarded with emails to upgrade to a higher level of car. Companies know this and they take advantage of these people, sadly many people fall into this trap.

Nothing wrong with treating yourself sometimes but you need to know that this kind of behavior is very addicting and I can tell  you that I fell into that not so long ago and thankfully I am out of it now.

Choose Experiences Over Objects

Think about the last time you really wanted something. Let’s say it’s that new iPhone. When you wanted it, you most likely didn’t think of anything else but that new iPhone with it’s new features. When you get that iPhone, you really do admire it for the first few days or weeks but then the excitement as the days go on fade away and it will mean less and less to you.

Now, instead of thinking of whatever object you want right now, think of your last amazing vacation. I am sure that vacation will make you feel all excited because of the experiences you’ve had, people you’ve met, and overall will make you feel good. On the other hand, iPhone will not make you feel anything most likely and honestly the cost of an iPhone now a days is as much as a vacation to Europe and back.  The reason behind this is that no matter what we do, we still tend to value experiences over objects.

Here’s very interesting find by NY Times,

“Researchers have found that our types of purchases, their size and frequency, and even the timing of the spending all affect long-term happiness. One major finding is that spending money for an experience—concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco—produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.

“It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch’ is basically the idea,” says Professor Dunn, summing up research by two fellow psychologists, Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich.

…Thomas DeLeire, an associate professor of public affairs, population, health and economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, recently published research examining nine major categories of consumption. He discovered that the only category to be positively related to happiness was leisure: vacations, entertainment, sports and equipment like golf clubs and fishing poles.”

Don’t get me wrong but I am not trying to tell you to go ahead and sell every item you have and if new iPhone offers an experience on par with vacation then be it and nothing is wrong with that. If vacation is not your thing then do something else that makes you warm and fuzzy inside when you think of it.

If you are ready to book a vacation, check out Skyscanner below, one of the best flight bookings website I have ever used and thousands more people are using it every day!

It’s The Little Things That Matter

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to happiness. Majority of people equate large purchases with large amounts of happiness, and while it is true that buying that brand new Porsche will give you a great thrill but it won’t be long until it fades because with the money you spent on it could of last you for years with multiple vacations, dining out with friends and family, and much more. The experiences that you get from enjoyable evenings, spending time with your friends and family will last a much longer lasting and more fulfilling happiness than a large purchase. On top of that, people who are social, live longer, have healthier lives, experience less stress, depression, and less feeling of isolation. When experiences are spent with people you like the most, the little happiness add up and lasts much longer!

Don’t forget to save and use Restaurants.com for extra savings like $10 for $25 certificates!

Renting Will Give You Equal Amount of Satisfaction for Way Less

Why buy expensive car or vacation home when you can rent 20? Majority of people’s dream of buying expensive car is to impress people which makes people satisfied or a vacation home like in Hawaii right on the beach, these fantasies center mostly because that shows a status symbol in our society these days. What these fantasies not include are the bills you will be paying to maintain these “luxury” objects. Resist on spending money on anything that you can rent. Yes, You can now rent almost everything. Cars, RVs, vacation houses, boats, horses, even designer clothes, and so much more. The money you want to spend on just one item for yourself can be spent on having a variety of objects that you always wanted. The major benefit is that after you used it, you are no longer responsible for it once you’re done using it. Rent one type of Ferrari? Try another one next time! Want Hawaii beach hose? Rent it, have a great time, then move on to the next experience without worry or any responsibilities! There’s a big difference between owning a Ferrari and wanting to drive it, in this technological era everything is possible.

Here are some great ideas with coupons;

Turo: Get $25 in credits on your first car rental, It’s like AirBnb for cars!. (It is a company that operates a peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace. It allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles, you can also rent your car out).

AirBnB: Get $40 (Airbnb is the best way to rent unique, local accommodations on any travel budget. Get $40 off your first trip of $75 or more).

Think of Everything As Investment or Not

This one is quick and straight to the point. When you buy something expensive, think of it as investment. Buying those shirts, jeans will make you look good, but will you actually wear them a year later? Let’s see, spending $300 on jeans might make you feel good – yes! Well, that $300 could have been spent on a gym membership, a yoga class, a multiple visits to the spa, and many other things that could be enjoyed many  times. A bi-weekly spa visits or gym membership will relieve you of stress and leave you feeling refreshed every tie you go. Was your recent large purchase worth it?

Learning is A Secret Skill That Lasts A Lifetime

The best thing you can do in life is to invest in yourself. Learning a new skill or a hobby will maximize you happiness and expand your knowledge. Taking a class in skydiving, woodworking, mountain climbing, surfing, tennis lessons, reading books, learn to pain, join creative writing class, and many more other activities that will make you learn something will guarantee you a successful yourself. Spending your time and money on learning new skills and broadening your existing skills will open up new you. Expanding yourself as a person will expand your horizon on what really makes you happy and satisfied, there’s never a downside to learning, If you want more, see my post on secret to life success. Consider starting to invest today and use this money that work for you to expand your knowledge or experience new things. Start today with M1 Finance, the best platform available for investing!

Bottom Line

This is it, rather a large read but I know that this article will help some people to open up and some will just not do anything about it. In the end, I am really happy in either cases because how strangely it may sound but happiness is not for everyone and some people are just programmed differently.

Anything you do 99% of time, spending your money on new experiences and knowledge will have a much bigger return on your life than buying a large item that does not provide multiple satisfactions over an instant gratification.

You want to be happy? Stop Buying Items and Start Buying Experiences! Check out my “Experience”  bought that is coming up in a few weeks and I cannot wait to share it with you all!

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Richard Barnett is a student majoring in finance, entrepreneur, marketer, content writer, traveler, and financial blog “Student Money Adviser” owner. You can read more about me here.

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