The week started off terribly for me, and I’m still not feeling very well. However, I heard something yesterday that disgusted me so much, I have to release it in the form of a substandard blog post before it kills me.
This’ll be quick. I gotta get back to feeling sorry for myself.
So, I’m listening to the Can I Afford It? segment of the Suze Orman Show episode when this guy calls in to ask if he can afford to send his daughter to a $36,000 a year private school. “How old is this daughter?” She’s four-fricking-years old – that’s how old.
However, the guy could afford it. His household’s monthly take home pay was $25,000. Only about half of that went to expenses. When you’re saving 50% of your income, it’s hard to argue you’re being irresponsible with money. Being a woman of logic, I calmed down once I acknowledged this fact.
But this got me to thinking about how many times I’ve heard people use their kids as an excuse to waste money on something they can’t afford. People with kids love to play the I-only-want-the-best-for-my-child card to by luxury items they can’t afford. Kids are used to justify everything from expensive houses to luxury vehicles to exclusive private schools. I’ve even heard people say they won’t subject their kids to generic cereal. Come on, man.
It’s natural to want the best for someone you love. Especially those you’re responsible for taking care of. But many of the products and services people spend money on command a substantial premium for a marginal benefit.
For instance, I have relatively white teeth. (They are. What do ya want me to say?) Occasionally, I’ll use an over-the-counter whitening kit to make my smile brighter. I probably won’t spend more than $45 on it.
One day, I asked my dental hygienist if I should try a professional whitening kit. She broke it down to me like this. On a whiteness scale of 1 to 10, my teeth are an 8. The professional whitening kit would get me to a 10, but it’d come with a price tag of over $500. That’s 11 times more than the at-home kit that yielded good results. To me, the minor improvement wasn’t worth the additional cost.
It’s this type of analysis that convinces me not to blow money on practically worthless foolishness.
Once something is good enough, you really need to consider the value derived from the next dollar you spend. This applies not only to your loved ones, but to yourself.