We do try to save money on a lot of things in life and generally tweak stuff here and there a bit to get some extra juice out of our financial resources. However, there are rare occasions when we ignore the dollars and just focus on maximizing our experience. Here are two such examples.
1. Eating at an expensive restaurant: JD @ Get Rich Slowly recently posted an article about how to eat at an expensive restaurant without destroying your food budget. Although the article makes some valid points on how to reduce your bill, it’s really not for people like us. Yes, we do try to reduce our expenses on eating outside, but that doesn’t happen when we head out for a dinner at an upscale restaurant (the term “upscale” is relative - for us, $50+ for a dinner for two is upscale).
If we decide to go to an expensive restaurant, it’s mostly because we want to
eat enjoy certain specific items on the menu, in a generally pleasing and relaxed atmosphere. The food and the experience are the driving factors - not the money. It’s the mildly intoxicating, cozy feeling of a *hearty* meal that measures the level of our satisfaction from a given restaurant.
If, on a given day, we have chosen the most expensive restaurant in town for that kind of a feeling - then that’s that, we would be eating there irrespective of how much it’s going to cost us (within reasonable limits, of course). On such occasions, there is no micromanagement about how we can save bucks by using tricks like sharing a single dish, eating a snack at home beforehand, eating just the appetizers, etc. Generally this happens when we are in a “live to eat” mode; when we are in a “eat to live” mode (courtesy: exams, report deadlines, etc.), we don’t care about what we are stuffing ourselves with - we just try to get the most out of as little money as possible.
2. Vacations: Earlier this year, we went on a quick vacation to Philadelphia/New York. Although, before we embarked on the trip, I had planned on keeping detailed records of our expenses, I quickly gave up that idea. On vacations, things are driven by enjoyment, convenience, and the overall experience - money takes a back seat (again, within reasonable limits).
On this particular vacation that I mentioned, we had a general large number in our mind - set as the *budget*. But, we didn’t have any specific plan on how to stay within that budget. Of course, it wasn’t a frugal thing to do - in the conventional sense; but, that wasn’t the intention anyways. We had fun, and that’s what mattered.
These are just two examples at the top of my head right now, but I am sure there are other such occasions… and I am sure some readers will have something similar to share along these lines
All in all, I guess it boils down to saying that there are two types of functions that can be maximized (this type of language is called “engineering jargon”) - sometimes independently of each other: frugality and fun.
Frugality is no doubt a good thing to be maximized for the betterment of you and the universe, but sometimes you got to stop worrying about the pennies and enjoy the fun part.
Image credits: www.massas.com, www.internationalliving.com