Sometimes, it is so worth it
There are many great examples of where it is so worthwhile to go for the more expensive option or upgrade. Spend the extra! For Don and I, the extra often involves travel. I know; you’re shocked.
Nine years ago, we decided to spring for the higher quality luggage – great lightweight suitcases with very strong construction and a lifetime guarantee. You’ve see the video of the luggage being thrown around in the cage by the gorilla? That’s what we were thinking about when we spent the bucks on the Osprey Sojourn packs.
Yes, we have made use of the guarantee. The first time we sent the suitcases back, Osprey repaired a tear here and there and a little extra wear and fray around a seam or two. They came back spiffy bright and refreshed. The second time we sent them in earlier this year for structural support and a few wear spots and tears here and there, they sent us two new suitcases.
So worth it.
One Thousand can so easily turns into two thousand
However, I have an unnatural ability to justify the extra expense in just about every situation imaginable. Hey – we’re only going to be there once! Hey – this location is the best! Hey – I really, really want to be pampered for a week! Future State Renee would like Current State Renee to curb that penchant a bit. Yes, it is my superpower but I need to remember to use it more judiciously. I had another good example earlier this year.
January 2017 – where it all began
I bought tickets for our family to see Hamilton in Chicago. Yea!! What an adventure – Hamilton at the Private Bank Theatre in Chicago!! Hamilton tickets – so worth it. We planned to stay downtown for a long weekend and needed a nice place to stay.
Hotels in downtown Chicago in June can be spendy. Very spendy. And, at the time I was looking for rooms, in JANUARY, some hotels for June dates were already sold out. Did I mention that the Cubs were playing at home over that weekend? I was hoping to keep lodging under a thousand bucks.
I found a great opportunity on Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO). Very tempting! Two bedroom condo, great location in the Loop, and the photos were grand – it looked very posh! Minimum stay four nights – we have that covered. Averaging around $325 per night. A thousand bucks!
$325 x 4 = $1,300
“But Renee,” you are thinking to yourself as you read this, “that is more than $1,000 right there! I thought you could do math or at least run a calculator.”
Yes. You are correct and, as sometimes many of us do, I round down. Red flag, right?
Second – I inquired about the opportunity to stay at the posh place and learn that yes, indeed, it is available but during the peak season (summer in Chicago) the minimum night stay is five nights.
$325 x 5 = $1,625
I can justify that. As noted above, I can justify anything. We would love to stay five nights instead of four, right? We can eat breakfast at the condo and save lots of money that way. Red flag is waving and gets bigger and bigger.
Oh, wait, here comes the rental contract detailing additional mandatory charges for taxes plus cleaning service plus something that I was never quite what it was. Of course, none of the quoted price included parking.
Now, the total on the contract is $2,100 for five nights.
The universe steps in to save me
Here’s where sometimes you get a message from the universe at the right time. I became aware of another opportunity for fun later in the year. I was immediately reminded that I was expanding that Chicago cost in a way that might limit other travel.
I hate to have my fun limited.
What a close call!
So I went back to our original focus. Don and I wanted to stay four nights. We needed to have a place for our son and his lovely wife to stay for one or two nights. I am a creature that prefers comfort but guess what? We don’t need to pay for five nights of total posh for four people. We need four nights for Don and I and one or two nights for our kids in a nice place in a great location.
We were totally not going to be there long enough to justify $1,000 worth of eating breakfast at the condo.
Answer – back to the alternatives list. Yep, there it was. A great opportunity with a great rate for the two hotel rooms for the nights we needed, including tax, around $1,000.
Opportunity costs were my driver. If I had spent the $2,100 in Chicago on the posh place, I would have had $1,000 less in my fun account to spend somewhere else on another romantic adventure with the love of my life.
By the way, I understand that I could have come up with an even more economical solution that would have involved suburbs, fewer nights, etc. I wasn’t set on the least expensive alternative; I wanted the best value for our priorities. Your priorities may differ.
June 2017 – a very happy ending
The weekend was great! Hamilton was a blast! We loved touring the Field Museum, the Art Institute, and sampling whisky at a couple of bars north of downtown.
Our long weekend was in no way diminished by the fact that we got coffee and breakfast sandwiches at the Dunkin Donuts a block away from the hotel rather than cooking our own breakfast. Plus, our view from the hotel was amazing – right across the street from Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain.
We stayed at a really nice place. I am pretty sure that the experience would not have been $1,000 better by staying at the posh place.
I’m learning. I can’t always say that I’ll always chose the more responsible alternative but I think it’s a little like building up that muscle with each decision. What might Future State Renee get to do if I chose the nice hotel instead of the posh condo?
So this time I learned:
One – Don’t round down. I need to be very clear with myself when I’m making a choice. Honesty is the first step in a good evaluation.
Two – Take all factors and priorities into account when evaluating the value proposition. What was most important for our great weekend?
Three – Remember to think about opportunity costs! Money I am committing now will impact my future choices and decisions.
Let’s talk about it!
When have you gone for the upgrade and it was TOTALLY worth it? Not?
Whisky bars in Chicago