What Is Your Dollar Really Worth?

I have been contemplating the worth of money lately. I know what you’re thinking, “A dollar is worth a dollar, dummy”…but I’m not talking about the numeric value. My wife and I haven’t always been on the same wavelength when it comes to some of the little splurges in life. I sweat the small stuff a bit too much and those little splurges get under my skin. They make me feel like my whole goal system is flawed and each one of those little purchases are setbacks breaking my stride.

On the other hand, when my family come into town, I spend like a Gatsby (ok not really, but you get the point). When there is a special occasion, the value of my dollar decreases because the joy of being with family and friends is worth more than the money it costs to go out to eat, go bowling or rent a few movies and enjoy the evening together.

Just like the other night when there was a coupon discrepancy and an additional $14 dollars was vanquished from my bank account, but the event was a special occasion so we took the beating at the restaurant in the name of celebration.

On an even larger scale, this weekend a good friend of mine is getting married so we are traveling to join the festivities at his wedding. The cost will be upwards of $200 for the trip, plus I got new tires on our car that cost $350 this week so that the trip will be a safe one.

These costs are all worth it because the value of friendship, living life to the fullest and never passing up a once in a lifetime opportunity far exceed that of the man made dollar bill.

Some people spend their whole lifes living it up though. The parties never stop and they seem to always be having a good time so where do the two values meet? What makes or breaks a once in a lifetime opportunity and how do you decide which is worth spending the time and money on?

That is entirely up to you based on what you value.

What I’m saying here is frugality and personal finance are great but they are a means to an end. That end is happiness. If you never take a break in the action to actually breath in some happiness and spend some of the money you have been saving for exactly this situation, you’re wasting your time and your life.

Now I’m not saying bust out the credit cards and charge your way to bliss. Just stop letting the little, mundane and pointless crap get you down. If the value you find in a cup of coffee in the morning or a scented candle around Christmas time are worth what you are paying for them, then that dollar was well spent. Others may call this the crap that you are passionate about.

I’m not going to ask you what you splurge on because I don’t want to classify buying things that add value to your life splurges but I would like to know what you think. What little things add value to your life?

Here are a few of mine.. I love homemade chocolate chip cookies especially when I make them myself. I love candy corn in fall. I love really thick wool socks when it gets cold outside…

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10 People have left comments on this post

» Mrs. MicahNo Gravatar said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 09:10:53 }

It’s funny. There are a lot of things that I look at and think “it’s not worth my money.” But then something will come around, something which doesn’t have a practical function–it’s just cool, and I buy it. But I do that because it makes me happier. It’s like Star Wars memorabilia collectors find their collections make them happy, or people who live like misers but buy great art are happy, we’ve all got a few things.

I’m still learning what mine are and accepting that sometimes I’ll make mistakes. I used to beat myself up a lot if I bought something I thought I’d like and then didn’t end up getting full satisfaction.

I’ve found making quilts more satisfying than making most clothes (except costumes). I’ve found buying DVDs is only worthwhile when it’d be really hard to get ahold of the movie another way or when they’re part of some project I’m working on (like some college classes on writing and film). Music, on the other hand, is almost always worthwhile as long as I’ve listened to it first and know I like it. Even if I get bored, I’ll cycle around to wanting to listen to it again. And buying clothes has little payoff for me unless they’re particularly awesome like my awesome hat. 🙂

Have a good trip!
.-= Mrs. Micah´s last blog ..When the Doctor Charges for Unnecessary Tests =-.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 10:10:16 }

Exactly. I am one that would buy fancy paintings..I really like frames and they make me happy, the pictures in them are nice too but the frame..those sharp corners and straight lines do something for me.

Another one for me is a hotdog at a ballgame or corndog, really heavily fried at an event..sometimes when there is a fair in town, we will go just for the food even though we know it’s overpriced and we could get the “same” meal at a regular restaurant any time for less money. It’s something about the event that draws me in. I used to work as a carni when I was younger, maybe its just nostalgia.

I’m on board with the music too. I have to hear it first but in many cases it’s worth having.

» Money FunkNo Gravatar said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 02:10:39 }

You said it – spending money to spend time with friends and family is worth it. Those are the moments of rememberance and joy.

Me, I freak over expenditures that my husband makes, but am a bit more lenient over my splurges (totally unfair on my husband, I know). lol.

I like to splurge on groceries for a great gathering or spending $ to go to the movies with my kids (although I cringe at movie ticket prices).

You know what urks me? All those stupid infomercial ads! No one needs to spend their money on that stuff!
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Have a Frugal Halloween =-.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 09:10:39 }

Funk, you’re absolutely right. I mean, you can’t take it with you right 🙂 but memories last forever, or at least till we all go senile and forget everything haha

I can’t do the movie thing. I want my kids to experience it so when they are old enough, we will go to a small dollar theater near here, but the 12$ a ticket stuff, they will have to earn their own money for that. I would rather have a bunch of their friends come over and watch movies at the house than be out there anyway. I’m planning to get a projector for our home theater system in about 10 years when they are old enough to enjoy it.

and I’m with you on the infomercials ads 🙂 though I have been blueprinting an invention and I thought the infomercial crowd would be prime targets to sell to haha

btw give the guy a break! 🙂

» JuliaNo Gravatar said: { Jan 31, 2010 - 08:01:35 }

It’s funny that you ask what things that we buy add value to our lives, because there’s another value you show in your post.

You mentioned the differences between how you spend and how your wife spends. I guess the bigger value choice is whether you value how you spend over the peace in your marriage!

I had a lot a trouble in my marriage with differences in how the two of us spent money. Now that my marriage fell apart, the spending arguments seem small compared to the value of the marriage. Our money disagreements did not cause our break up, but the pressure that we put on each other certainly didn’t help.

I think that we need to see our money as the tool for the good things in life–warm socks, chocolate and a happy spouse.

Thank you for this post.

.-= Julia´s last blog ..Are You Ready for the Next Mortgage Crisis 2010? =-.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Julia, that’s definitely something I think about all the time. When my wife and I first got married, we didn’t pay much attention to our finances but we did fight about the little things a lot. Now that we both pay attention to our finances more, we no longer fight about it because we know exactly where we have some wiggle room and what really matters. We are also more in-tuned to each other and each others values as far as purchases. Knowing what my wife values and her knowing what I value helps so I can forget about the money and know my wife is getting value out of her purchases. With bigger purchases we discuss them and decide whether or not they are important to our future and if the cost is worth it.

I’m sorry to hear about your marriage and hope the lessons you learned from it, like the one you just shared, can stick with you.

{ Mar 17, 2011 - 07:03:20 } 5 Things That Are Worth The Cost

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