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Choosing the More Expensive Option


Here’s the dilemma that many people face: On one hand, you’re trying to save money. So you research “how to save” and you find all types of advice, ranging from making your own soap or roasting your own coffee beans. On the other hand, you’re time-crunched, and you’re not spending enough time with your family.

What should you do?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but let’s examine this topic a little more deeply.

#1: When the Two Choices Cost the Same

Twice a week, while you’re on your way home from work, you run errands. You go to the grocery store, run to Target, pick up the dry-cleaning. This means that you’re delayed in reaching the daycare center by one hour.

Now, assume that daycare costs $15 per hour, and you need to run errands twice a week ($30).

Let’s also assume that you could hire a personal assistant for $15 per hour. This assistant can run errands on your behalf.

In this case, it looks like both options are equivalent, monetarily speaking.

So the next question is: Which would you prefer? Would you rather have that extra hour with your kids? Or do you cherish that hour of grown-up solitude, to give you a ‘buffer’ between the pressures of the office and the stresses of home life?

#2: When One Choice is Cheaper

Okay, now let’s run this same what-if scenario again, but let’s change the facts slightly.

Let’s imagine that your personal assistant costs $25/hr, while daycare only costs $15/hr.

In this situation, putting your kids in daycare while you run errands is cheaper. You’d save $20 per week ($10/hr difference, 2 hours per week), which adds up to $1,040 per year.

But what if you don’t want to keep them in daycare for an extra two hours? What if you prefer to spend that time with your kids?

There are some things that you just can’t decide based on price. Spending time with your kids is one of those things.

Sometimes, there’s a trade-off between the “mathematically correct” choice (the one that will save money) and the “emotionally correct” choice (the one that’s true to your heart). You can’t live your life based on finances alone. You have to make choices based on what ultimately brings you happiness and satisfaction.

So you might decide to spend an extra $1,040 per year outsourcing your errands, so that you can spend more time with your kids.

Or you might decide to bring them with you while you run errands. (Heaven help you.)

The basic message, though, is that there’s a time and place for saving money. And there’s also a time and place for choosing the more expensive, but more fulfilling, option.

After all — this blog is called “Life and My Finances.” And between “life” and “finances,” guess which of those two comes first?

Kennedi writes money-saving advice for women.

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. There’s also the matter of convenience. If I’m at one store and an item I want is $1 more expensive, I may get it just so I don’t have to make a trip to another store.

    • Good point. Life is already stressful enough without adding to that pressure by trying to be too frugal. Convenience is worth something.

  2. The problem with convenience is that it’s expensive. Very expensive.
    If you schedule your errands weekly, you can avoid having to leave the children at daycare an hour longer.
    For instance, do grocery shopping on the weekends or take them with you.
    Convenience is costing us thousands of dollars a year. Everyone wants a shortcut to make life easier.
    Many of them, however, can’t afford convenience.

    • Mike. I love hearing your comments. You’re a no-nonsense, completely logical kind of guy. Love it.

    • Mike, I respectfully disagree. Sometimes you can’t take them on weekends (like if you spend weekends taking care of other family members or fixing up the house). And if you take kids to the store, the trip takes twice as long and ruins their bedtime and takes an extra hour out of your evening time (and you need that time to do other things, like laundry and cleaning and sending emails and booking appointments and managing schedules and tasks).

      Its easy to say that you should re-arrange your life for the sake of saving a few dollars each week, but when you’re adding excessive stress to your life, you end up ruining your health and your relationships. Those things are more important than a few bucks.

  3. In addition, there’s the issue of comfort. If I’m at one shop and products I want is $1 more costly, I may get it just so I do not have to create a journey to another shop. thanks for sharing.

    • Right, Thomas! Thanks for commenting.

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