Experiences Over ‘Things’

Why is it that so many people buy experiences over ‘things’ these days? There is a lot that is often said to be symptomatic of our present age: the trend of seemingly being constantly glued to phone screens, the apparently endless supply of cat videos on social media, the existence of cereal cafes…

However, one thing that is frequently claimed to be very ‘now’, is the tendency for many of us to favour experiences over physical items. There is a certain generation that may be at fault… Yes, as with so much else, it’s Millennials who are largely responsible for this trend amid an increasingly widespread preference for less materialistic lifestyles. Did you know that over the last 30 years, the share of consumer expenditure in the United States went up by a whopping 70%? According to one study, more than three quarters of Millennials would choose to spend their hard-earned cash on an experience or event instead of purchasing a desirable item?

There’s a few theories that could be behind this movement – but we reckon that these are the biggest factors…

1. Science shows that experiences are better than things

Past studies into something called the Easterlin paradox have found that whilst money certainly can buy happiness, it only does so up to a certain point. We get bored of things and adapt to them. That new CD, car or even the house that you really wanted will probably only make you happy for a short time – before long, it will just become part of your ‘new normal’. You’ll soon be looking for another physical thing to purchase to bolster your happiness again. As Thomas Gilovich, the Irene Blecker Rosenfeld Professor of Psychology at Cornell University, has previously explained:

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are a part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

2. Ownership just isn’t the ‘holy grail’ any more

Even without knowing the results of scientific studies like the above, Millennials seem to have figured out that working relentlessly for all of their lives, just to accumulate things that they could quickly and easily lose, isn’t worth the effort. Just imagine having to slave away for years to save for a deposit on a house for example, that could get repossessed swiftly if you lose your job.

Plus, why would you necessarily want to be chained down to one place for all of your life anyway? Millennials are known to be job-hoppers compared to previous generations, only staying in a given role for three years on average. Quite simply, Millennials are frequently happy to buy experiences rather than things, because they feel that this makes their world richer, without the risks – and who can blame them? Many of us, outside of the Millennial generation, are deciding to live our lives in much the same way.

3. Great numbers of us now rent rather than own

Sure, there are plenty of news headlines about ‘Generation Rent’, due to property prices spiralling out of affordable reach for many Millennials – however we aren’t referring to that. We are referring instead to the fact that even if you do own something desirable, you aren’t necessarily going to be happy. Instead, you may spend a large amount of time worrying about losing that thing you worked so long and hard for.

It’s one thing to have a Ferrari or Lamborghini in your driveway, but that means also having to look after it, insure it and generally keep a paranoid eye on it. After all, unless you can also afford an expensive and well-secured garage, that desirable supercar is going to be a mightily alluring target for thieves, vandals and general wrong’uns.

With all of the above considered, it may seem so much easier just to ‘rent’ the supercar ownership experience instead, by purchasing a driving experience from a company like us here at U Drive Cars. It’s the driving that you really want, isn’t it? Our happiness as human beings is so much about the experiences that we associate with certain things, rather than necessarily the things themselves. Leave responsibility for the maintenance worries to our team and instead enjoy the really glamorous bit on our Heyford Park circuit – the experience of driving that dream car!

In the spirit of prizing memorable experiences over materialism, why not book your longed-for U Drive Cars driving experience package today? From supercars such as the Ferrari 360 and Lamborghini Gallardo, right through to legends of the super-special stages like the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza. Even classic models such as the Jaguar E-Type, we’re sure we’ve got just the car for you. We even offer junior experiences and corporate packages – so don’t hesitate to call the friendly and helpful U Drive Cars team now, on 01869 277 112, to make your booking.

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