When one thinks of frugality, it is common to assume that the entire point is to pay as little as possible. Therefore, the idea of paying extra seems counterintuitive. However, there are times when it makes sense to pay a little more. In some cases, paying extra can actually save you money over time.
Paying for Convenience
I’m willing to pay for convenience. Pay an extra dollar to buy a movie ticket online? I’m there, especially if I know the movie will be a big deal. I’d rather pay an extra dollar than spend a couple of hours waiting in line at the theater. I’ve also been known to pay an extra $50 in airfare for a more convenient flight.
While I don’t hire someone to clean my house or take care of my yard, these are things that I can imagine others finding it worth to spend money on. I have a small home, so it doesn’t take long to clean, and my husband enjoys the exercise he gets from yard work. However, if I had a larger home, I could envision paying someone else to take care of these chores in order to save me time, and allow me the ability spend more time with family.
In reality, I value my time far more than I value money. Depending on the situation, paying a little extra for convenience is worth it to me — especially if it saves me time.
Paying for Quality
Another consideration is the quality. Sometimes, cheap doesn’t equal true value. Over the long run, if you have to continually buy cheap items that are constantly breaking down or wearing out, you could actually spend more money than you think. Paying extra for a high quality item can save you money over time, since you don’t have to keep replacing items that wear out. With some things, it doesn’t matter if you get cheap items. On the other hand, you can do better over time if you buy some things with a higher quality. Do a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether or not it makes sense for you, long term, to pay extra for quality.
Paying for an Experience
Another option is to pay extra for an experience. I’m an experience person, and I don’t mind paying extra for what I really enjoy. When I go to the festival opera that takes place in my town, I like to get box seats, rather than get the cheapest seats. (Of course, it helps that civic events in my relatively small town are very affordable in general.) I also like eating out at my favorite restaurants, and occasionally going to the spa.
When I decide that I want an experience, I’m willing to pay extra for it — especially if it means that I will enjoy it more, or have less stress in my planning process. I’m going to be honest. I don’t want to penny pinch while I’m on vacation. While I will do things like bring my own snacks, or make sandwiches, I’m not going to go out of my way to save a few bucks when I’m traveling. I’d rather save up enough that I don’t have to worry about it than think about pinching my pennies the whole time.
What Do You Care About?
I’m not going to pay extra for some things, though. There are plenty of things that I don’t care about, and those are things I’m going to pay as little as possible for. I don’t care much about having a big TV. As a result, we bought a 32″ inch TV a few years ago — and we don’t have plans to buy a new TV anytime soon. We also don’t have a very expensive cable package. Just enough that my husband can watch ESPN. The list of things that I just don’t care about is rather long, and those are the things I cheap out on. That way, I can pay extra for the things that I actually enjoy.
What about you? What do you pay extra for?
I like paying for experience with home repairs. Just a few botched repairs provided an important lesson – know your limits.
Hiring a qualified electrician or plumber saves time and money. They don’t have to undo the damage caused by well meaning husbands like me.
This to me is exactly what it’s all about – saving on what you don’t care about in order to buy what you do care about. We do many (many!) things cheaply so we can live in a nicer home and save for an early retirement. We stay home a LOT, and my husband and I are both into sports, so we bought the big TV, and have HD cable. but no premium channels, as we don’t care about movies, etc, but do like to be able to see the local sports teams and see them clearly. We enjoy travelling some, but take snacks with us and don’t pay for extras (example WI-FI in the room, etc). When we do travel, we normally have something inexpensive for lunch and dinner. My husband only has a smart phone because it’s reimbursed by his work. The kids and I do not have smart phones, but we do all have texting, because our kids our older and I feel safer with them having phones with easy access to me and me to them, and texting is very convenient for us. I just think it’s so important to be aware of and think about where your money is going, and whether it’s going to the places you care about. What I have to watch out for is the expense creep. I think I need to reevaluate (again) where we are spending, because I suspect that since we have been debt free other than our mortgage, I have become less vigilant about this. We still have many goals, and I don’t want to rob my future paying for things I don’t care about.