Apr 3, 2009

Money Well Spent Part II

In my previous post on money well spent, I explained some of my thoughts on the relationship between money and experiences. Essentially, I feel that while refraining from spending money on frivolous expenses, such as lattes, is the "right" thing to do financially, it isn't always the best choice. Instead, I argued that certain experiences are worth the money.

Let me take that idea a little bit further. One of the reasons that this whole idea came up was because I have often read about how much money a person can save simply by cutting back on small everyday purchases, like coffee. They say that $4 a day is like $1400/year, and that's a huge amount of money saved, and that's true! You can't argue with the math. Therefore, some financial experts recommend cutting back on certain expenses, like four dollar lattes, in order to save yourself a huge amount of money. And I agree with them.

This might sound like it is in contrast to my previous post, and my previous point, but it is not. While I did advocate certain experiences, I did not encourage certain expenses. The difference comes from the originality and uniqueness of the experience. The reason that the cafe crawl we went on was so good was because a) I had never done it before, b) I had a great time with old friends and new friends, and c) I got a memory I can cherish for years to come. A daily latte cannot, and will not do that.

In fact, I would argue that a four dollar latte on a regular basis would actually cheapen the experience. If I drank coffee every single day, having a coffee is no longer special. Just ask my fiance, who works at a coffee shop. When she first started working, she would drink free coffee (because its free!) until she was sick and couldn't sleep at night. Now, she's learned to moderate herself, but there is nothing unique or special about drinking coffee, as it is done on a regular basis.

As soon as a fun, cherished moment becomes routine, it also becomes mundane. If you are buying a coffee out of sheer habit, then stop. It's not worth the money. Save your money for something unique, an experience, a present, a treat. Not only will you save money, that four dollar latte will become the treat, the present, and the experience. And that's worth paying for.

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