Since my last post on forgotten restaurant meals, I've been thinking quite a lot about the value of experiences, and I've come up with a list of rules of thumb you can apply to help you assess whether an experience will be worth the cost.
This is of course a food blog, and therefore much of this thinking is geared towards food experiences, but I think today's post could be broadly applicable across all sorts of experiences.
You'll notice the appearance of my trusty 80/20 Rule in this list, along with several other counterintuitive (and even one or two contradictory) thoughts.
One final note: My goal isn't to be prescriptive--I'm not here to tell you what to do. My goal with this post is to help you think about what gives you real value in life and thus help you think about what things are worth the extra money.
1) Money spent on experiences you don't remember is wasted money.
2) The "rememberability" of an expensive meal may have more to do with its infrequency than its absolute cost. If you have expensive dinners out several times a week, they are likely to blend together, be forgotten, and thus become a waste of money.
3) However, if you truly value expensive restaurant meals, it may be optimal to have just a few fancy and pricey restaurant meals per year. Frequency and rememberability are generally inversely proportional.
4) Rethink what paying for an experience means to you. Will you remember this experience? Will it be salient to you in a year or two? Or three? This might be a better measure of value to you than the cost.
5) At the same time, the value of an experience may be directly related to its cost, all else equal. Extremely expensive dinners tend to be more memorable, assuming they are relatively infrequent. Regular restaurant meals that you have for no reason at all will probably end up being utterly forgotten.
6) You can waste enormous sums of money on regular "forgettable" experiences.
7) By cutting out one or two weekly "forgettable" dinners out, you can save an enormous percentage of your entire food budget without sacrificing any long-term happiness whatsoever.
Readers, what would you add? And which of these do you agree with or disagree with?
Spending to Save: Frugality and Expensive Food
Ten Tips on How to Cut Your Food Budget Using the 80/20 Rule
Doing Your Favorite Thing: How to Spend Exactly the Right Amount of Money For an Important Celebration
Results of the Casual Kitchen Reader Food Spending Poll
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