Rule One: Buy Experiences Not Things
Before I even heard of the book, my family and I put this into practice, not once but twice. First in 2013, instead of having another present laden Christmas, we took the money and bought tickets to Australia. Ryan, was invited to play in the Good Will Games, and the rest of us were able to go along.
It was one of the best Christmas ever. Now did we give up gifts entirely? No. Stacy, with her wonderful wisdom, bought small gifts for each of us. But it was the total experience, and the novelty of Australian Chocolate and treats that none of us will ever forget. I still remember the “cool” water bottle I got that Christmas morning in Adelaide.
Two years later, we did it again by taking a Cruise over Christmas and New Years to the Western Caribbean. The results were similar. I can tell you that I hardly remember any gift I got in 2015, but I still wear the watch I got on the cruise ship with fondness, and my memories of the selfie the three kids took on Roatan, Honduras is still the lock screen on my phone. It was one of the happiest memories of our lives.
That was money well spent.
Of all the rules, I would say this is one of the ones that I have never regretted.
Note: There is a corollary to this rule I have been playing with. Derek Sivers, the author of Anything You Want, and a frequent hero of Tim Ferris, said in the book Tools of Titans that he would put the following billboard outside every Mall in the world.
It Won’t Make You Happy.
I took that to mean exactly what Rule One is about. Things won’t make you happy. Lately I have been thinking about that more and more, as I troll Amazon looking for things I don’t have. “It won’t make you happy”, keeps running through my head.
I have found it a powerful tool to focus my attention on the expenditures that have a better chance of making me happy… like buying experiences I will never forget.