One of the recent posts over at Get Rich Slowly by Sierra Blacks was about the financial choices she and her family make. A lot of the comments were on where people do or do not spend money. Sierra mentions spending money on climbing fees and yoga passes. Some commenters agreed it was worth it, while others were against it and thought the money could be put to better use.
To me, this comes down to the discussion of where will you get the most value from your money. And this value is not going to be equal for everyone. A yoga pass for Sierra is worth it, but would be worthless for me – I’m not a fan.
I think we often forget that certain items or experiences can provide so much more value than at first glance. Maybe going climbing should be considered a splurge – if you go once in a blue moon. But what if it’s the one activity you do that a) keeps you fit and healthy; b) keeps you sane and reduces stress and; c) is a group activity you do with some friends. Those are all great benefits that can be used (in my opinion) to justify the expenses. And all of those apply to me. I really enjoy climbing, and always leave feeling so glad I went. Which means, for me, it’s completely worth the $400 year pass. And I’d much rather do that, and cut something else out my budget.
On the other hand, I rarely, RARELY, turn on my TV. Last summer, at the end of August I went to turn on my TV and thought it was broken. Turns out it was just having some trouble after not having been turned on for over 3 months. I have a few TV shows that I watch during the year. But, my climbing schedule has consistently mean that I can’t catch most of the shows when they’re on. This means that paying for cable is not worth it for me. However, I have friends who get a lot of their stress relief from watching TV – and for them, paying for a decent cable package gets them similar value to what I get from climbing.
I think we often forget when discussing budgeting and money that we need to look pass the cost value of an item and look at the whole picture. Paying $50 for something you never use is not better value than paying $400 for something you constantly use, just because it’s cheaper.
What do you splurge on?