Swap ‘retail therapy’ for experiences

“The perpetual cycle of buying material possessions is unlikely to lead to long-term satisfaction,” according to Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group…

“Let’s be honest, how many of us have passionately pursued a material purchase – be it a gift for a child or an extravagant item for ourselves? It may have resulted in temporary excitement, joy even, but if you think about it, that feeling lasts no longer than a few days.” On the flip side, Shaun argues that experiences offer us so much more.

Research supports this thinking and, in fact a 20-year study conducted by Cornell psychology professor, Thomas Gilovich, showed that experiences bring people more happiness than ‘things’.

“The idea that experiential purchases are not only more satisfying, but longer-lasting than material purchases is a compelling one,” Shaun says. “Having been in the hotel and leisure industry for over 25 years, I have witnessed first-hand how taking a holiday with your loved ones and trying new activities not only adds to the value and quality of your life, but leaves you with magical, happy memories that last a lifetime.”

Four reasons why they’re worth investing in

He offers four more reasons why experiences are worth investing in:

1.     Experiences form part of who you are

Everything you have ever seen or done has shaped you and contributed to the person you are today. Your identity, therefore, is not formed through a cupboard full shoes or driving a fancy car, but rather through the accumulation of the places you have been, the memories you have made and the experiences you have had.

2.     Things don’t connect people, memories do

Whilst it’s wonderful to buy gifts for the special people in our lives, it’s the experiences we have with them that are truly priceless. Hiking in the Berg with close friends, exploring new destinations with your spouse and having beach days with the children all lead to experiences that, even after the moment passes, leave you  with memories to cherish and stories to tell.

3.     Rejuvenate, refresh and de-stress

Life is no bed of roses. It can be tough and taking a break from your day-to-day routine is a great way to unwind. Taking a long weekend off to play golf or sharing a romantic weekend away with your partner are both wonderful ways to rejuvenate your body, refresh your mind and re-kindle your zeal for life! In comparison, a new dress or pair of name-brand sneakers is unlikely to do any of these things.

4.     Create magical childhood memories

If you work full-time, chances are that you sacrifice a lot, and this includes time with your children. Work deadlines often take priority and before you know it you’ve missed an opportunity to watch your child play a sport or act in a play. And, try as you may, a new Nintendo game will not fill that void – for you – or for your child! So, whilst you cannot always control the amount of time you spend with your children, you can control the quality of that time. Help create magical, family-based experiences for them by consciously planning outings and holidays that are meaningful and the memories of which will last a lifetime.


“Next time you’re in need of some retail therapy, instead of reaching for your car keys, start planning a trip or activity you can share with those closest to you instead. Plus, spending less on material items will also leave you with more money to do just that,” Shaun concludes.