Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not All Money is the Same

If you have been following me on Twitter you’d know that I attended a Cold Play concert earlier this week – Monday night to be exact. There’s something really cool about going out on a weekday, especially because I had to take-off from work much earlier than I would normally have left and we had the in-laws baby sit the kids for us. However the topic of this post is not the fun that my wife and I had – although the show was a blast – the topic of this post is the fact that the value of money changes with context.

You know for a fact that everything you can buy at a concert is going to be overpriced to a ridiculous degree, however I did not bat an eye when I paid $13 for a diet coke and some garlic fries. A glass of beer? $9. Really, really crappy pizza? $8 please. No problem at all sir, here’s the cash. However, I sometimes take minutes to figure out whether I should spend 99 cents on a cool iPhone application or to buy a new song. Why is that? It’s all about the context in which I am asked to spend the money. This is not a rational thing, after all, money is money regardless of how you spend it. What changes is my mindset. When I go out, or go on vacation my mission is to have a good time – I come prepared to spend the money. I throw frugality to the wind and laugh in the face of waste. Stupid? Yeah, maybe, but it’s a fact.

But there is some good news – on the way out of the concert we each got a free Cold Play CD. Very cool. My wife gave hers to the in-laws as a thank you gift and then quickly adopted mine. Justice.

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Rob Beennett said...

I think your point is legitimate. The context in which you spend money certainly changes the value proposition obtained from it.

But I believe that you should always seek an equally strong value proposition.

I wouldn't worry too much about the cost of a desert that my wife and I enjoy at a dinner to celebrate our anniversary. That's because I am not just buying a desert -- I am buying an anniversary memory, which is something a little different.

But I am not price indifferent even at anniversary celebrations. If the cost got to be too much, I would look for another restaurant for the next anniversary.

It's an interesting question.


Neil said...

There are some occasions when you are almost forced to abandon frugality. With a concert you are often not allowed to take any food/drink in with you. The question therefore isn't should I buy this drink/food at inflated prices? It is am I going to go this concert or not? I'm ignoring the option of going to the concert and not eating/drinking at all - just too miserable!