This past Sunday, my 22 year old and I went to the movies. We opted to see "Cowboy's and Aliens". It was a spur of the minute decision go to out to the theater, with the 103 temperature being the primary catalyst. Poor planning and the heat had eliminated many if not most of our normal Sunday pursuits.
As a person on a fixed income, my goal in general to avoid spending money unless I get a large reward in return. The Tightwad Gazette refers to this as the wow factor. I'm sure every one's wow factors differ.
Now, 24 hours after seeing the above mentioned movie, it was a perfect example of way to little entertainment value for way too much money. While the movie was enjoyable, the cost for that movie in terms of value was off the charts. In other words, at almost thirty dollars for less than two hours of entertainment, and snacks, the return on investment was very low.
Now, some might say that this was a one time event, and to relax and enjoy the film, rather than obsess over the cost. That's just what we did at the time, and as I mentioned earlier, the movie was nice, while not exceptional (in my humble opinion). But that same thirty dollars could have gotten me many nights of movie and high grade snacks on my comfy couch at home. Even if you only figure three movies and attendant snacks, I doubt that the movie experience was worth three times the cost. A little planning while I was on vacation would have given me netflix movies and a well stocked fridge.
Everyone has different wows and needs. The important thing is to acknowledge them. In my case I am absolutely unwilling to spend money on weekly dining out at places like the Outback or Macaroni Grill. On the other hand once or twice a year I am willing to spend a large amount at the best restaurant in town. Not only will I get big value for big money, but the memory will last me for awhile. I certainly have my own entertainment needs and desires. I've recently seen the revival of Guys and Dolls, as well as the final Harry Potter in 3D (a movie meant to be seen in a really, really big theater).
Most of the time I have a good handle on what is worth (for me) to spending money on and what is not. Like everyone else, sometimes life gets in the way. When that happens (just like this weekend) I enjoy myself, and then remind myself that next time I'll be much more content with a visit to red box, my gourmet popcorn seasonings, wine and a comfy couch. I can have everything I want, after all. Just not all at once.
Oh, and anyone who wants to give me some rain, or take away a couple degrees of heat, please be my guest.