I have been accused of being a bit frugal. As a recently married college student whose wife is also a full-time student, I generally do my best to live up to that accusation. 😀 As a man of limited means, I try to get the most value out of any money that I spend.
This doesn’t mean that I always buy the cheapest that I can find. In fact, it often means that I will pay more in order to get better quality. This works out when the higher quality item doesn’t break and I don’t have to go purchase a replacement. It all depends on how I will be using the item: a one-time user can be cheap and disposable, but something I want to last generally needs to be better quality. So before making a purchase, I have to determine what I want the results to be.
This theory also works for other expenditures. I go white water rafting every year. There are two different rivers equally distant from my home. I have never been to one of the rivers, and have been going to the other for over a decade now. This is a simple decision for me to make each year. While I would love to visit the “new” river, which has a 4/5 rating, it will cost as much just to hire a raft as it does to spend an entire weekend at the “old” river, which has a 3/4 rating.
For less money, I can drive down to the old river, stay in a campground for two nights (or backpack and camp in the state forest for free), hike up into the mountains and go rock climbing/rappelling (free, since I have my own gear), explore a local cave, go white-water rafting, and then return home. All this for the cost of rafting the new river, and that doesn’t include food, transportation or any lodging.
All in all, I feel that I get much more value out of my money for the weekend trip, as I get to take part in a number of favorite activities and spend a longer amount of time doing it. I know what is more important to me in this case, and how to best reach my desired outcome.
Do you put much thought into your purchases? Do you only look at the price-tag or do you consider other, more important factors? Next time, whether it is something as small as paying an extra $1 for a preferred chocolate bar or going on a slightly less exciting trip that lasts much longer, picture your desired outcome as you decide what to purchase.