Sunday, August 8, 2010

Is it better to take a vacation or buy a new couch?

Is it better to take a vacation or buy a new couch? The NYT tackles this question and the conclusion seems to be that people get more happiness value from experiences rather than goods.

I thought it was also interesting that the article mentioned that anticipation increases happiness, and that by saving up for a purchase makes it more valuable. I generally agree with this premise. We live by the $100 and the $300 rule. Any purchase over $100 requires a 1 day wait for each $100, so a $500 purchase requires a 5 day wait, etc. Any purchase over $300 requires a family discussion and agreement.

I can attest to the fact that I very much enjoy our new living room furniture, which we saved up for and which we shopped for and researched over the course of a year. Would I have enjoyed the furniture if I had run out and bought it on credit, I'm sure I would have since there is something to be said for immediate gratification, but by waiting and saving up for it I do believe I increased my enjoyment for the following reasons. First, by saving up for the purchase I didn't incur any debt, there was no big bill to pay off for the next several months. Second, by waiting and researching I took the time to find the right furniture for the room. If I had rushed my purchase I likely would have ended up buying something that wasn't quite right and would have given up on my search to find the perfect fit (the room is odd shaped).


Nicole said...

I must vacation wrong. I gotta say, I get more pleasure out of our furniture than any specific trip we've taken.

Of course, we don't have *much* furniture, and have only replaced a couple of bad quality pieces that fell apart, so we haven't hit diminishing marginal returns on it yet.

Anonymous said...

change in subject, but found an interesting article about why you should not pay off your mortgage early..