I found this idea on Jake Seliger's blog The Story's Story and it seemed pretty insightful….
List the ten most expensive things (products, services, or experiences) that you have ever paid for (including houses, cars, university degrees, marriage ceremonies, divorce settlements, and taxes). Then, list the ten items that you have ever bought that gave you the most happiness. Count how many items appear on both lists.
I made the two lists below; it took me several hours to think of the ten things that bring me the most happiness. The point of the exercise, of course, is to realize that Stuff (with a capital “S”) should be there to give us energy, not to take it away. Thankfully, most of the items I've spent money on thus far in my life are also on my list of things that have made me happy! Now, the idea is to get rid of the stuff that doesn't, and not spend money on anything that won't.
Ten Most Expensive Items
- $14,500: Used 2001 Cheverolet Silverado 1500HD
- $7,200: Diamond Engagement Ring
- $2,700: Cello (including Bow and Case)
- $2,000: Dell Precision M60 Workstation
- $1,199: MacBook 5,1
- $999: Living Room Set
- $749: College Ring
- $700: Tempur Pedic Classic Bed
- $540: Springfield XD Subcompact 9mm
- $459: 32” Samsung HDTV
Ten Highest Happiness Items
- Engagement Ring:
I'll just use this as a placeholder for my marriage. I love you, hon.
- Used 2001 Cheverolet Silverado 1500HD:
Freedom of movement. That's the happiness of a vehicle. It's not a big deal maybe if you're in a city with decent mass transit, but I'm not.
- MacBook 5,1:
Almost the same freedom of movement… just virtual. I went almost a week without a computer when the Dell died. Definitely one of my most loved purchases.
- Cello (including Bow and Case):
Music is an incredible gift from God, and the ability to use it to praise Him is even more incredible (Psalm 144:9).
- Kitchen Table and Chairs:
What's the best place to sit around and talk with friends and family? Kitchen table. What about board games and playing cards? Kitchen table. Oh yeah, and it makes having company over for dinner work so much better.
- 32” Samsung HDTV + Living Room Set:
I've never been one for TV, but I enjoy company. Having a place that's conducive to relaxation and laughter together is really nice.
- Tempur Pedic Classic Bed:
Speaking of relaxation… I'm pretty sure that gravity is higher in the region immediately surrounding that mattress, and it's definitely comfortable. I was sleeping on a pile of blankets on the floor before I bought the mattress, and a couple of friends who bought one thought it was too hard so they sent it back, but my wife and I love it.
- Benchmade Jackknife:
Carry this thing everywhere… every man should have a knife in his pocket. It's too useful not to.
- Roomba 560:
No vacuuming, ever. Well, at least less than it used to be. And the apartment is so much cleaner! Freedom of movement (time), anyone?
- Levi's 559 Jeans:
Yeah, I'm reaching here. It's hard to think of things that have made me happy in the long run. But I own two pairs of these jeans, and they're basically the only pants I wear. So they must be decent, right?
What makes you happy? Is it what you've paid for?