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4 Reasons to Prioritize Experiences Over Goods in Your Life

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The start of the year is a popular time to set positive, attainable goals. Many resolutions are small, attainable and habit changing, such as volunteering and exercising more, making new friends, or spending time with family.

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Over the past decade, I’ve seen numerous Charitybuzz bidders live out their dreams when they win the experience of a lifetime and support an incredible cause. This year, I encourage you to add a new resolution to your list: spend more of your time and money on experiences than material goods to find happiness in 2015. Here’s why:

1. Lasting satisfaction

There’s been a flurry of research in recent years showing that when people buy or receive something new, there’s an instant but very fleeting burst of enjoyment. Experiences on the other hand provide much more lasting happiness. There’s the excitement of anticipation, the enjoyment of the activity itself and a memory formed that lasts years, maybe even forever. Some experiences, whether it’s a guitar lesson or lunch with a celebrity, provide lasting happiness in an even more tangible way -- like a new skill or living out a lifelong dream.

2. Better for the planet 

Americans have more stuff than anyone else on Earth, and it’s no secret that mass-produced consumer goods have an environmental impact. Unless your experience includes flying around the world on a nearly empty jumbo jet, indulging in an activity instead of buying a physical item is often a more sustainable option. This has particular appeal to millennials, who surveys show are more concerned about sustainability than previous generations. As an added bonus, activities like a round of golf or wine tasting class are more likely to support local business.

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3. Shareability 

Speaking of millennials, let’s talk social media. You don’t see many people bragging about an expensive new handbag or extravagant watch on Facebook or Instagram. Even in our supposedly materialistic culture, that kind of sharing is considered tacky. Sharing memorable moments about your front-row concert tickets or recent stand-up paddle board excursion though? That’s the stuff social-media posts are made of. Narcissistic or not, people like to feel interesting and admired -- and that’s the kind of social currency an experience can provide.

4. Quality time 

Time is one thing no one seems to have enough of and the most common life regret is not spending enough of it with people we care about. Going on an experience that requires you and your family or friends to carve out time for one another is priceless. Whether it’s a son and his mother enjoying season tickets to a local theater company or a father and daughter taking tennis lessons together, this kind of outing is truly what memories are made of.

I admit, I’m biased. But only because I’m fortunate enough to witness the indescribable joy these types of experiences provide on a regular basis. In 2015, may you enjoy incredible experiences that make memories to last a lifetime with family and friends.

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