Will An Expensive Experience Be Worth It? Seven Heuristics

Readers, thanks for indulging me while I take a break from writing to work on other projects. In the meantime, enjoy this post from CK's archives.

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 to help 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's truly worth the extra money.

1) Money spent on experiences you don't remember is wasted money.

2) The salience or "rememberability" of an expensive meal or experience has to do with its infrequency, not its absolute cost. Expensive dinners out several times a week are likely to blend together, be forgotten--and thus become a waste of money.

3) Therefore, if you truly value expensive restaurant meals, have just a few per year. Frequency and salience are 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) Likewise, 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 happiness whatsoever.

Readers, what would you add? And which of these do you agree with or disagree with?

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