Is it beneficial to use events to store data when possible. I'd like to avoid storing excess data, as the data is only a reference for the outside world and has no functionality within that contract.
Yes, you can save gas by using events instead of permanent storage. If the data is not needed in the contract itself, this makes a lot of sense.
See https://media.consensys.net/technical-introduction-to-events-and-logs-in-ethereum-a074d65dd61e for a description of this use case.