One Person’s “Waste” is Worth the Expense to Someone Else

Not too long ago, I read an amusing post written by Kevin at Thousandaire in response to a comment from someone who called him “crazy” and indicated that he had lost all credibility as a PF blogger because he plans to spend $20,000 on a wedding. Kevin’s response reminded of a very important point: We all make our spending choices, and what one person sees as a “waste” might be totally worth it to someone else.

What’s Worth Paying For?

It’s true that I wouldn’t spend $20,000 on a wedding; mine cost about $3,000. However, I don’t think Kevin is crazy for deciding to drop more than six times what I paid for my wedding on his. It’s all about what you think is worth paying for.

Everyone has their own priorities and spending preferences, and what seems “wasteful” to you might be well worth it to someone else. I pay for a gym membership each month. Many people consider that a waste, since it’s possible to exercise without going to the gym. However, I like swimming; it’s one of the few ways I actually enjoy exercise. I can’t access a pool year-round without a gym membership.

The reality is that you need to figure out your own lifestyle preferences and what you think is worth paying for. We could live in a bigger house, like others at our income level, but that would mean less money for interesting experiences. We like eating out, I like travel, and my husband enjoys collecting high-end action figures. All of those things are considered “wasteful” by many people. But they add to our quality of life, and we enjoy doing those things.

It’s worth paying for those things, even though others might see them as wasteful.

Can You Afford It?

Rather than judging others’ financial decisions, I am a believer that you should consider whether or not you can afford your own choices. Sure, we like to eat out. But we can afford the restaurants we frequent, and we can afford the number of times we go out.

Whether it’s the annual spring break trip I take with my son, or scale model statue of Darth Vader, my husband and I make sure we can afford our “wasteful” spending. The things we want are only paid for after we have paid for the things we need. We only “waste” the money that is left after paying the bills, buying groceries, giving to charity, and contributing to our retirement and emergency funds.

What we do with the money after that is entirely up to us, and what we think will improve our lives. Sure, we could probably put more into our retirement accounts, but, let’s be honest: What I am I going to do with a pile of money when I’m on my deathbed? I’d rather enjoy life now than add to my son’s inheritance later. He can grow his own wealth.

What do you think? What spending do you engage in that could be considered “wasteful” to others? Would you stop just to have a bigger nest egg later?

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.