Michael on December 24th, 2008
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We received over a foot of snow last Sunday.  This was on top of another foot that had finished falling less than 24 hours previously.  Needless to say, it was a day that the entire family (save for my shoveling excursions) stayed inside.  It could have been boring.

It wasn’t.

In fact, at the end of the day, my wife and I agreed that we would remember one thing that we had done together far longer than we’d remember the crazy snowstorm or our last dinner out with just the two of us (which has been so long I think I’ve already forgotten it).

You: What did you guys do?

We made a memory, by making dinner together.  All of us.

You: Isn’t your youngest kid an infant?

Technically, yes. We made her supervisor and she monitored the situation from her high chair. But my wife,  older daughter, and I made dinner, assembly line fashion with calming but festive music playing in the background.

You: iPod sound system?

No, a boombox from 1991 that still works.  See, the stereo is meaningless.  So was the fact that dinner’s ingredients cost less than $20 and fed us all (thanks to leftovers) for two nights.  The memory was from the camaraderie and the genuine closeness of enjoyable family time, not family money.

It was the second time something like that happened in a week.

You: Something like what?

That, by spending less, I was getting far more value.

Last week, my wife and I went out to lunch.  We met in the middle of the day and had lunch together.

You: I don’t need a definition of “lunch.”

True, for most people, meeting someone for lunch is routine. However, my wife and I both run small businesses so we don’t often have the time.  But we decided to make the time last Thursday.

I could tell you that our little lunch rendez vous was so enjoyable because we don’t meet for lunch very often.  That would be true.  I could say, as I did above, that the reason we don’t meet very often is because we’re both very busy.  But the truth is that we don’t go out to lunch not only because of our schedules, but also because eating out is an easily avoidable expense.  Therefore, we almost always bring our lunches.

But we had such a nice time.  So, I think I’m going to suggest to the Mrs. that we meet for lunch more often.

You: Increasing your spending.

For sure, but not be nearly as much as the value we received from a $10, combined, lunch.

You: That’s really cheap.

True.  We also had a coupon so it won’t be that inexpensive each time. But again, it wasn’t the cost we were focused on. It was each other. When you’re focused on spending time, not spending money, you get a lot more value for your dollar.

Extra bonus: you live in balance.

What do you do for top value?

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2 Comments to “When you spend less, you get more value out of life”

  1. catisonh says:

    One of my personal resolutions to never make the event, whether its going out to eat, going bowling, or seeing a concert the reason to go out in the first place. The real reason is to spend time with people. Then you realize that you have fun with people without spending a lot of money. One of the most depressing moments is when you spend too much money to do something special, but end up not connecting with the people you are with. They price doesn’t make the event, the people do.

    PS – I there is a missing “don’t” in the sentence: “I could tell you that our little lunch rendez vous was so enjoyable because we meet for lunch very often.”

  2. Michael says:

    @catisonh: A very good approach! Also, thanks for letting me know about my missing word (now fixed).

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