Hidden Costs of Fun

28 Apr

I made a decision a few weeks ago to attend a Jesus Culture One Nights concert. The band was going to be just a couple of hours away, and I felt like it would be a wonderful getaway. I invited a girlfriend to go with me and purchased my ticket. I thought, “It’s only $25. I can work that into my budget.” Well, I was mistaken.

I didn’t really take into account all the other expenses that would go along with this day trip. I knew I couldn’t afford to stay the night in Birmingham. And I was okay with the sacrifice of being a little tired on the way home. What I forgot to account for – shame on me – was the cost of gas, and the dinner, and the CD I just couldn’t avoid purchasing (and probably overpaid), and the snacks on the way home that would help me feel like I might “stay awake.”

Really, the hidden costs of a purchase have often been my downfall. If I buy this item for this price, I can totally afford it. Then, I need this accessory, and oh, wait, I need to buy this item that will make the item I originally purchased that much cooler. I can’t just purchase this one item. I need all the other gadgets that go with it.

So, how do I avoid the hidden costs of a purchase? I think the first thing I can do is to write down all the possible purchases that need to be made to go along with my original purchase. This process may be as simple as an ironing board to go along with the iron I need. Or, it may be an extra controller and video games to go along with the PS3 I purchased two years ago. Anyway, you get the idea!

Next, I need to do some research on the product I’m buying. If I had done a little more research on the purchase of the concert ticket, I would have thought about paying for parking, and the cost of the meal I might purchase. I also would have thought about the CD I might want or concessions. I usually go into an event with the plans not to purchase anything from the concession stand. And I usually forget that plan as soon as I smell the hot dog in the bun. What is it with hot dogs??? I don’t like to eat them at home, but put me in a ball park, and I jump in line as soon as I’m able!

Then, I need to ask myself how much I really need the item I plan on purchasing. At this point in my baby steps (Step 2), I don’t need to do ANYTHING extravagant, and extravagant right now is anything that exceeds my spending envelope. This reality is especially difficult for me because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE going to sporting events. For the next few years, I have to pretty much kiss those goodbye. But, this will not be my reality forever. It’s only temporary!

The good thing about going through this process is I may very well talk myself out of the purchase by the time I’m finished. It’s a lot of work to do this much research around a purchase!

Sheepishly, I admit that not only did I forget to take into account the hidden costs of the concert. I also blew my budget by about $40. I would like to be able to say it was worth it, but is staying in debt longer really worth it? I think the resounding answer is NO.

With that being said, please see the pictures from the concert taken from my phone. I really did have a wonderful time. It was so refreshing to see so many people going after the Lord. If you’re not familiar with Jesus Culture, I highly recommend that you check them out. I assure you that you will not be disappointed!

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