Experience VS. Things

Me underwater in Cathedral Cove (Narnia), New Zealand, 2005.

An experience is always a better choice than buying an item.

Eschewing food and other absolute necessities, having an experience is always the better choice when choosing how to spend your money. Most people don’t even “choose” – they just mindlessly fork over the dough.

Something my dad said a long time ago has always stuck with me – when you consider how much work you have to do to make that amount, when buying something, think about it in terms of HOURS SPENT rather than the moola itself.

Would you work a half hour (or an hour?!) in exchange for a latte?
Would you work a whole week in exchange for a pair of fancy shoes?
Would you work a whole day for one meal at a swank restaurant?

That sort of thing – because that is what you are doing.

So many people work often and do little, because their money is spent on unnecessary things. Then they whine that they need a vacation but can’t afford it, or that they wish they had more time off, or more time to spend with their kids, on and on and on.

I’ve stopped buying things I don’t need, including books – which for me is amazing. I get credits at work (a book store) so that is the only time I buy them anymore. I read what I own, and I go to the library. I used to desire a huge book-lined home, wall-to-wall beauty – but without the money I spent on those books, I would have no free time to read them all. Dig?

I also make sure that the food I buy actually fills me up. On a raw diet, this is important, because many raw foods are so low calorie that you need a TON to be satiating – hence eating high-calorie fruit as a staple (bananas, dates, mangos, etc). I limit the amount of other things that are for flavour more than satiation – lemons, nori – things like this add up to a lot and really do nothing to fill the tummy. You should do the same, whether you eat raw or not!

I also pick up any change I see on the ground, even if it’s a penny. You cannot have any sum without pennies – these are the building blocks, If you ignore the free money around you, you tell the universe you don’t need it. I’ve seen beggars scoff at one cent coins – ironic.

Use your extra money to DO things. What are you going to remember at the end of your life? The stuff you bought, or the stuff you did?

Here’s some examples of what you can do with certain sums of money:

$10 – A couple of days of coffee VS. basket of fruit for a picnic in the park with friends.

$20 – a fresh-pressed t-shirt VS. a whirling slamdance nightclub evening.

$50 – lacquered nails VS. a thrumming live concert.

$100 – a dvd set VS. a zipline ride through the mountains.

$500 – a fancy handbag VS. a weekend away with your lover.

$1000 – the latest phone VS. a new guitar for your lifelong dream of being a musician.

$2000 – a designer gown VS. a sunbaked week in Hawaii.

Watching Pipeline, Oahu, 2010. I spent a week here for just over $1000.

$5000 – a diamond necklace VS. a raw food retreat in Costa Rica to heal you from within.

$10,000 –  plastic surgery VS. months of traveling in South East Asia.

$100,000 – a zippy sportscar VS. trips to every continent.

$250,000 – a partially-paid-for condo VS. a caravan to explore the country.

$500,000 – medical bills (due to your terrible eating habits, not unfortunate accidents) VS. enough to live on, work-free, for years.

$1,000,000 – a beautiful home…VS. basically whatever you want. If you have this much money you wouldn’t even be reading this article.

Most of us do not have much disposable income (what a horrible phrase – disposable income? If we work for that money, then we are saying our TIME is worthless – so we are saying that our LIFE is worth trading for insignificant crap).

Obviously a little indulgence is okay now and then, but when it throws you into debt, and you think shopping is “therapy” – that is when you need to really step back and scrutinize the reality of what you’re doing.

Personally I would rather do more, work less, and appreciate reality, not artifice; adventures, not stuff; dreams, not consumerism.

If you have debt, get out of it as soon as possible! There are many ways to do this, make it your #1 priority (okay, second – health is #1).

 Me snorkeling off West Coast Australia, with whale sharks, 2005.


Worth every cent.


(This post seems very geared towards females – oops – guys, I dunno what you waste your money on!)