This is an interesting concept of Amy’s that I have pondered several times when making or contemplating purchasing an item.
As an example Amy had purchased some second hand snow boots for one of her daughters. The daughter wore them for a while and then complained that she wanted green L.L. Bean snow boots. The daughter also said that her boots were a little too big. So, Amy went out garage sale shopping and she came across some like new plum colored L.L. Bean snow boots. She bought them for 25 cents and took them home. Her daughter took one look at them and didn’t like them because she had wanted green ones.
Amy sat her daughter down and talked with her about the boots. New boots would cost $25. Amy asked her daughter if new green boots would be 100 times better than the plum boots. Her daughter thought about it and said no. So the daughter wore the plum boots and that was that. After a while she started to notice that many friends had plum colored boots also. If this were my daughter I would have done the same thing but I would have knitted or made a scarf out of fleece fabric that had green and plum in it to pull it altogether.
I love the way Amy thinks about things like this. I have used this type of rational many times. One example was when we purchased my vehicle. It was a great deal yet the interior of the vehicle was a light tan and I was worried about it getting too dirty and hard to keep clean. I was shown another vehicle that was similar but it had a dark grey interior with a few more options that made it more expensive. Hmmm – we went with the tan interior and because it is made of durable fabric it has been easy to keep clean. So, it was another one of those it wasn’t worth the extra money for a darker color interior with a few more options that we didn't need.
Amy uses another example of comparing a $600 camping trip to a $6,000 cruise vacation. On a scale from one to ten the camping trip would rate a 5 and the cruise would rate a 10. You will enjoy the cruise twice as much but you will be spending more money and would only get a fifth of the value. Also by spending so much money on the cruise, you won’t have as many funds in reserve to purchase other things that are rather low in cost and contain a great “wow” factor. However camping isn't for everybody so perhaps you can find other resourceful ways to go on vacation without having to camp.
Another view that I take is that I would rather have money in the bank for an emergency than spend a lot of it on a vacation. Now we just took a big vacation to Washington, D.C. and we did spend more money than we usually do on a vacation, but that was an exception and not our general rule. It was also a graduation present to our youngest son.
When I find something that I want to buy, I like to do some research. More than once I will have the money saved up and then I won’t want to part with the money for the item. Or I decide to look a little longer to see if I can find the item cheaper. Right now I have been looking for two red diner style chairs for my kitchen. If I come across some yellow diner chairs at a great price I would purchase them and make them work. Red or yellow would look great in my kitchen, but my preference is red. I would settle.
This type of thought process can be used in so many situations. Here are some examples:
Your kids are involved in a lot of activities and you sit down and have them decide on the ones they enjoy the most or the ones that they get the most from. Then you look at the list and start to cross off the activities that give the least “wow” factor.
Other smaller items on a list could be the wow factor between:
1. Restaurant versus homemade meals. I would much rather go out and buy two steaks and grill them myself for a nice meal, than to go out to a restaurant for a steak dinner. The wow factor for me is in the steak and not in eating it in a restaurant.
2. Going to a theater to see a movie or renting a movie and watching it at home.
3. New car versus keeping a used car to drive a little longer.
4. Real maple syrup versus homemade “maple” syrup.
There are some cases where more expensive options do pass the one to ten wow factor scale. Amy gave the examples in her life such as her large farmhouse that is so much better for her family than a much smaller, less expensive home. Also, she said that a new computer is almost twice as good for her business than a used one at half the price. Amy feels that an antique dresser that cost her $200 is definitely 4 times better than a $50 yard sale dresser as the antique dresser will be in her family for generations.
When my oldest son was married in 2007, I determined to find a gown that I would wear at the wedding that I liked and that would look great on me no matter what the price. I refused to buy a dress that was cheaper just because it was on sale. I purchased a beautiful gown that was not on sale that cost me about $325 including alterations. I purchased a beaded purse and beaded shoes (I did get the shoes on clearance). I spent around $425 for the dress and accessories and I was very, very happy. (I'll have to scan in a picture and post it.)
I went to a wedding about a year later where the mother of the bride told me that she got her dress for $25 on sale and didn’t care particularly for it, but it fit her budget. She was at the other end of the spectrum in that price was more important to her than getting what she really wanted and she was fine with it. I in turn was more interested in the gown and getting exactly what I wanted. Perhaps it goes back to my own wedding when I could not afford the gown I really wanted and I had to settle.
No one can dictate the “wow” factor of another person. Each of us must decide on this.