My Unusual Advice for Becoming a Happier Freelancer


Links mentioned in this video:

The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things

Buy Experiences, Not Things




  • Nicki

    This is amazing advice! Thanks so much. It made my day:)

    • edgandia

      Glad to hear it, Nicki!

  • This makes so much sense to me, Ed! I know for myself that I remember a great trip or incredible experience much longer than I do the fierce pair of boots that I just had to have… I’ve also read that the anticipation of an event or experience also brings more joy than the anticipation of purchasing a thing. Can’t find the specific piece I read, but this hits upon the same idea. Thanks for all the good information you share!!

    • edgandia

      Yeah, makes perfect sense. The second article I reference under the video talks about the whole expectation thing. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Jennifer Kent

    Awesome post Ed! This is something I had been thinking about but now we will definitely give this a try.

    • edgandia

      Thanks, Jennifer!

  • I agree, Ed! We’ve done many cross-country road trips with our kids and have had great memories…DC, Yellowstone, Tetons, Boundary Waters canoe trip, camping, etc. Some of the best have been when we camp with our kids and they bring their friends along, or with other families. We’ve been doing that for years, and many of these friends have been with us several times and keep asking for more 🙂

    • edgandia

      Amazing places to visit. How cool!

  • Mike Wright

    This is so good! Thanks so much. I’m on it!

    • edgandia

      Glad the idea inspired you, Mike.

  • I couldn’t agree more! Both of my girls have birthdays within a few weeks of Christmas. A few years ago we decided to take some of the money that we budget for Christmas/birthday presents and take a family trip instead. These experiences have become much more memorable for them (and us) than one more thing to unwrap.

    • edgandia

      What a cool idea!

  • B. Jones

    I do something similar to what you / the articles suggest, tho’ not in such a structured way. But I totally agree — experiences with my family are what matters, not “stuff”.

    • edgandia

      Thanks for watching!

  • Tess Whitty

    Great video and message Ed! I have felt that excitement fade many times too, and I will try this technique. In general I already do spend more on experiences and travel, but not tied it to my freelance job or saving for it.

    • edgandia

      Thanks, Tess!

  • Cathy Laskiewicz

    This is excellent advice, Ed. Making experiences like these create a lifetime of wonderful memories. I can still think back to vacations I went on from childhood into adulthood, and will always treasure those moments. You can’t do the same with a handbag! I think it is important for us to set aside money and commit to these making these experiences and vacations happen. I know I am guilty of feeling I need to always be available for my clients, even though they always take their vacations. As long as something is well-planned in advance and clients are informed way ahead of time (particularly when there is the chance a project may come up), it should work out. We all owe it to ourselves and to our family and friends. Plus, a break every now and then is critical to avoid burnout, and to foster new life and creativity into our work.

    • edgandia

      Super! Thanks for checking out the video, Cathy.

  • Hi Ed. I am of the same mindset. Seems the older I get the less I care about stuff. As my mom used to say, it loses its lustre! What remains are the memories of experiences.

    My son asked me yesterday if I remembered what he gave me for Christmas. Embarrassingly, I could not (even though I was wearing the t-shirt he gave me!). I did remind him of the conversation we had about his first visit to Santa — the conversation we were having as we opened gifts I’ve forgotten about two weeks later!

    I’ve never budgeted for fun times, though, so the trips and visits usually come with a degree of guilt. Thanks for the idea. I think it will make a significant difference in my enjoyment factor!

    • edgandia

      Cool! Glad to hear you like the idea, Melissa. 🙂

  • Thoughtful piece Ed, and it rings true. I very much agree as well that it doesn’t have to be “big” experiences either—my girlfriend and I live 90 minutes from stunning Big Sur, CA, and we take day trips (or occasional overnighters) down there often. It’s another world, and always seems to lighten our steps. Thanks for your welcome perspective.

    • edgandia

      Day trips to Big Sur. That sounds amazing!

  • João Mata

    Ed, you probably won’t believe this – but my wife came upon this very same article last year and it made such a big impression on her that she shared it with me immediatley. The result: we went to Venezuela las summer and took scubba diving lessons together. We both agreed it was one of the most fun things we have ever done – and the best part is, we did it together so we got to share that amazing experience. Since then, we got into rafting and I started doing trail running (this one on my own). But it’s not really about what you do (people love different things, of course) – it’s about making sure you take the time to do stuff that you enjoy.

    • edgandia

      Couldn’t agree more. It has to be exciting to you for it to work.

  • Hannah Glenn

    Couldn’t agree more. It’s something I’ve realized over the last couple years. We try to make the most of weekends with little outings to “the sights”, or long weekends camping. Currently beefing up a side savings for our 4th wedding anniversary trip to Seattle in May! It’s always good to have reinforcement on how important these things are. And it’s so true that when you’re saving for an experience, you tend to be more careful about buying “stuff”.

    • edgandia

      Very cool! Never been to Seattle. Can I tag along? 🙂

      • Hannah Glenn

        Haha! Sure! Bring the kids! 😉 This’ll be our first time too. It’s been on my “to see” list for a long time. This is the year!

  • Bob Ettinger

    After graduating from college, I decided to become a Vista Volunteer and ended up in Brookings, Oregon.Vista is a one year program working with poverty populations. Brookings is a beautiful area surrounded by ocean and rocks.with a population of 9,000.. During my service, I coordinated a Big Brother Big Sister program and coordinated an energy program for the county. My service was extended 6 months to keep the Big Brother/Big Sister going.
    Once my service was over, I decided to go cross country in my car.My first destination was to go to Salt Lake City, Utah. Fortunately I knew someone who had lived in my neighborhood in CT. Him and is fiance took me into the Moutains to go camping. My friend helped me buy a sleeping bag and tent. Even though it was summer there was snow in the Mountains and beautiful scenery.
    My next destination was Yellow Stone Park. I saw Old Faithful and camped out in the wilderness. I even saw a Mouse.
    The next destination was in Colorado.When arriving I noticed that there was no mountains when entering the state. . Not to boor you guys. I then went to Rocky Mountain Park to hike. I went to my car to get a few things and got lost in the wilderness. After a long day I finally found I found my bearings and slept in a Motel.

    • edgandia

      What a cool adventure!!

  • Elizabeth Farr

    More great advice Ed! I’ve actually done that since my 20s, when I put $100 from every paycheck into a savings account that paid for ski trips in winter and epic month-long road trips in summer. And now my husband and I have a separate bank account where we sock away cash whenever we get something extra. Neither of us is really into buying stuff – my car is a 2005 Subaru, and my husband has a 1995 Honda, both with over 200k on them. Most of our furniture is hand-me-downs from family and friends. But we do love our summer trips, eating out at nice restaurants, hiking with the grandkids, and look forward to more fun when I go full-time!

  • Jen Leary

    Thanks for the reminder. On the flip side, experience has a double benefit. It leaves us with memories and memories return to us throughout life giving us our insight into the world. We gain skill we otherwise would have only potential to realize. And as we reflect and look again anew in ourselves we grow.

  • Scott Finkle

    I totally agree, Ed. My family and I love to ski, and every March we go up to Massachusetts with friends for a long ski weekend. The kids always look forward to this, and so do we. And doing simple day trips on the weekend is always a lot of fun – even if we don’t do too much. It’s all about really just spending time together.

  • Sandra

    Thank you Ed for sharing this wonderful information. I whole-heartedly agree that sharing experiences with those
    you love is much more gratifying than materialistic items. I have forever felt that being with one’s family is priceless.

  • Mark

    When looking back on a life well lived, it is the experiences that stay with us, not the material possessions.

  • JudyB

    I have been bogged down in a quagmire of routine. No time for this, can’t afford that. Need this instead (really??) … Then you came along. Thank you!! My travel saving fund is now set up with seed money. I’m researching places to stay along the Outer Banks for early Spring. And while it won’t be this weekend – we’re threatened with snow and ice – little mini-excursions are definitely in the offing. And it feels great! Dr. Gandia – you rock! Thank you for sharing.

  • Donna

    Totally agree. My husband and I have started exchanging experiences such as concert or theater tickets for our holiday gifts rather than things. We love it.

  • Gia St James

    This is a wonderful idea. I need to shift my thinking to far more experiences, using up what I have, not buying more. I am going to do what Donna (below) is doing as well and give experiences instead of physical gifts.
    I’ve always done a lot of things with my kids, shared experiences but now that they are older, I assumed that planning experiences will be too difficult. I’m going to do it anyway.