Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Experiences Vs. Things

Nina of Sitting Pretty has a very interesting article about those who buy experiences instead of things. Part of me thinks it's a shame we should have to draw that distinction, but we are after all a culture for whom shopping for things IS the experience. As much as I make fun of Opry Mills and the "Mills Effect," I revel in the treasure hunting at yard sales and thrift stores. Not so different, eh?


Anonymous said...

Is Opry Mills an Outlet Center? I think I know what you mean. We don't have anything like that near us, but we have seen people going nuts at these places when we are on vacation. I never think the prices, on the whole, are all that much of a bargain. But I think the garage sale/thrift store experience is different in that your motivation is diffeent. For the most part, I think you are looking for and buying those items that you KNOW your family or home needs, or will improve the quality of your life, while a lot of purchases at the outlet malls are purely impulse driven; i.e, buying "stuff", no matter whether it's needed or not, just for the thrill of buying! Good post, Meredith.

Unknown said...


I used to make great fun of people with two children dressed to the nines. I thought they were so frivolous until one day I realized that my children dressed well because their's did. I bought there beautiful cast-offs at thrift stores and yard sales and then had the audacity to make fun of them. Not good.

Unknown said...

Goodness!!! I am sorry about all the "their/there/theirs" mix-ups. I shouldn't be commenting so early in the morning when I really need to be packing.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you, in some way, paying for the experience just as much as the item when you go treasure hunting? I mean, for the most part, you are looking for things that your family needs and you enjoy the experience of searching and finding (at a great deal!) the items that you need. You probably enjoy going even when you don't find anything that great. To me, that is a great fun experience too. An elder at our church, who I very much admire for his ecclectic tastes in food, music, books, dry sense of humor, etc. advised me to spend my money on trips and experiences w/ our children, rather than spending lots of funds decorating the house. "Your children won't remember what drapes you had in your living room, but they will remember hiking the appalachian trail". Now, while I do think it is important to have a clean, well maintained home, I see his point and really want to take that to heart.

Anonymous said...

Good points... my dh is definitely someone who prefers to have experiences and for us to minimize our spending on house stuff etc (with the exception of computer stuff, he's a programmer.)

Meredith, I just want to say that I'm personally struggling with my own lack of frugality, and that your blog is really encouraging to me. I can't quite explain why, but it is... you are FRUGAL but not DEPRIVED and I have been trying to realize more and more that being frugal doesn't equal unmet needs... and that exercising frugality and acknowledging that our limited financial resources opens up room for God to work in my heart and my life.

That does lead to me to a silly question I'm struggling with... do you have a "thrifting" budget? How do you make sure that you don't go overboard with spending in that area- because I think I can overdo even at Salvation Army. I'm wondering if it's a heart issue, or just experience, or just knowing your needs and finances so well? Do you ever leave a yardsale or thrift-store with buyer's remorse?

Laura said...

Choosing to shop at thrift stores vs. outlets may not be that different from each other, but there is a distinct difference. Cost. To us, it doesn't make sense to buy brand new when you can find use for less. And to find things at a bargain...it is a treasure hunt. So, in my mind, you are (a) buying household items and clothes at (b) sometimes ridiculously low prices, while (c) feeding the need/want/desire to "shop".