If anything, COVID-19 has taught us that life is short. It is important to make the most of our time by living a fulfilling life, doing the things that bring us joy, with the people we love. Rioma Cominelli, Director at First Loyalty Plus, believes that material possessions are fleeting, but the memories that come from our experience together, last forever. “Memories come from experiences, adventures, and the time we spend together. They are far more valuable than any item we will buy.”
Research shows that when we buy something new, we believe it will make us happier. And, it may for a while. “We’ve all felt it; the excitement of saving for a big-ticket item, the elation that comes with finally buying it and the joy you feel when you use it for the first time. Over time, however, we adapt to having it in our lives, and the delight it once brought us, wears off,” Rioma explains. Research also reveals that whilst people’s satisfaction with the things they bought goes down over time, their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on, goes up. “Things get old, they break and get thrown out, but experiences connect us and form part of who we are.”
Whilst some experiences cost nothing, like hiking up a mountain with close friends or having beach days or park days with the children. Others, like holidays, hot air ballooning or meals out have a price tag attached. “So,” Rioma says, “in order to have enough money to spend on new experiences that will leave you with memories to cherish and stories to tell, you need to spend less on stuff. It’s a simple equation: buy less to experience more.”
She offers these three ways to buy less and experience more in 2021:
1. Stop unnecessary shopping: Have you ever walked into the shop for one specific item, only to come out with a full trolley? You can overcome this hurdle by leaving your card at home and only taking enough money to purchase the item/s on your list (yes, you need to also shop with a list!) If you are someone who can’t resist a good sale (whether you need the items or not), unsubscribe from all your favourite store newsletters and avoid ‘wondering’ around malls at all costs! Get in and out as fast as possible to reduce temptation.
2. Be content with what you have: The first step to being content with what you have is to stop comparing yourself to others. And then, shift your mindset by writing all the things that you are grateful for — it could be as simple as having a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, or clothes in your cupboard. After writing everything down, you will be surprised at how much you actually have. Practice this exercise often, and you will get into the habit of contentment soon enough. When you realise that all you have in your life is enough, the urge to have more ‘stuff’ will soon start to dissipate.
3. Identify experiences: The key to investing in experiences is to create a list of where you’d like to go, what you’d like to do and who you want to experience them with. You can start your list today and build on it; whether it’s as adventurous as bungee jumping or sky diving, or as effortless as a picnic or a holiday — whatever it is, write it down. Then, once you have a list, prioritise which one you’d like to do first. If you don’t have the money for the experience straight away, book it, then start saving towards it. Booking it means that you have now committed to paying the price instead of splurging on possessions you don’t need. You can also do more for less by signing up for a loyalty programme. For example, for R125 a month, you can save up to 50% on experiences with First Loyalty Plus.
“The perpetual cycle of buying stuff is unlikely to lead to long-term satisfaction. So next time you feel the need to indulge in retail therapy, plan a romantic weekend away with your spouse or shark cage diving with your mates instead and discover the job that comes with making lasting memories,” concludes Rioma.