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Costs vs Satisfaction

1 February, 2008

When we spend money, we get a certain degree of satisfaction. Finding the book you’ve been looking for for three years, and at half price at that, could bring you a high level of satisfaction. Buying a new plasma TV could provide us with a higher level of satisfaction, but how much higher? If the book cost $20 and the TV $2000, would you get 100 times the satisfaction from buying the TV? The answer to that will be different for everyone. There is no right or wrong answer.


The smart way to do things would be to spend as little as possible to gain as much satisfaction as possible. The plasma TV may end up giving no satisfaction in the long run if the credit card debt incurred to purchase it hangs over your head for the next five years. A $200 restaurant meal makes little sense if you would gain as much satisfaction eating sandwiches on the beach. However, if sandwiches and the beach make you cringe, then maybe a $200 meal is a good investment in your satisfaction, if good food and wine is what gives you satisfaction. For one person, it would take $2000 of “great book” discoveries to gain the same amount of satisfaction as one $200 restaurant meal. There is no shame on the part of either. You just have to work out what brings you satisfaction, and what brings you satisfaction for the lowest cost (we are talking about being frugal here!).

For a while last year, I wanted my husband to buy me an eternity ring for our fifth anniversary (I’d always been taught that it was for the birth of your first child or your ten year anniversary, whichever came first – I figured five years and two babies was close enough!). However, I have come to realise that a $500 ring would probably bring me the same amount of satisfaction as two other presents that I’d received from my husband.

Several years ago, for Christmas, my husband gave me a book of vouchers. These were for all sorts of different things – for massages, dinner cooked for me, spending some of his own money on a book of my choice, etc. It was a thoughtful gift and cost only the paper and ink (plus some of DH’s own money).

Last year around my birthday we had very little money. We weren’t struggling for food or anything, but we didn’t have a lot of spare money to play with… So I told him that he needed to spend no/very little money on my birthday. So, the day before my birthday while I was out (and he had the kids) he tidied the house, got the kids to make birthday cards, and cooked dinner and dessert. That gives me as much satisfaction as an expensive ring.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 1 June, 2013 4:40 pm

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