We asked people if they would rather have more money, or more stuff

What is money for? Freedom, security, happiness? Or just buying loads more stuff?

 A lot of people think that the reason we originally invented money was to have a more efficient way to get stuff than just trading it with each other.  

Nowadays, historians and economists say that's not necessarily , but it's still a big part of the way we think about money.

Then again, a lot of people seem to like knowing they've got a lot of money in the bank – not necessarily to buy more stuff, but just to have. I thought I'd walk around my hometown of Athens and ask a few people: Would you rather have more money, or more stuff?

Labrini, a boutique owner


"I would choose more money – but not to buy stuff. To invest, mostly in education, and travelling. At the end of the day, money doesn’t bring happiness."

Emily, manager at a wine bar


"I would prefer to have enough money to be independent and to live with dignity. I’d also like to start a business of my own. I’m not that interested in fancy things like cars or big houses. In a society based on consumption, it’s sometimes easy to lose the true meaning of life."

John, bartender

Man in front of shop

"I would prefer to have the amount of money I need to buy the basics for myself, rather than saving. These are hard times, and it’s hard to save – it’s even hard to buy the basics for someone else. I believe people should start to reconsider what things they really want and need for themselves in line with the money they earn. That would help a lot of people be a lot happier with themselves at the end of the day."

Izabella, actress

Woman with dog

"Sometimes, there are things that are worth much more than money! Like helping someone who needs your help. So what I want more of is the time...and maybe some more money, so I could provide food and a home for some animals. Too much stuff becomes stuff you don’t need but others do!"

Helen, manager at a fruit bar


"I would prefer to invest in traveling around the world than in buying more stuff, like a house, or a luxury car. I believe travelling is one of the best ways to spend your money! Doing trips is like investing in yourself. And that’s what I intend to do."

Helen, florist

Woman with flowers

"To be honest, I’d prefer neither money nor stuff. I’d like enough money to buy a farm close to nature, where I could grow vegetables, plant my own trees, keep a small farm of animals, and be totally self-sufficient and independent."

Bahir, unemployed

Man crouching on ground

"I’ve been out of work five years now...and it’s been a struggle. There’s no man on this earth that doesn’t want money. What I need right now is a job, so I can earn some money, and invest in buying a house for my family."

George, media producer

Man with arm on bar

"The only thing I’d like to have more of is time. I know some may say time isn’t ‘stuff’, but it’s the only thing for me."


Liked this piece? Check out the rest of Economy Explores: Stuff


Recent articles

Reader Comments