Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Seeking Help with Print Article: Convenience vs. Cost Debate

I'm writing a print article about the tug-of-war over potential savings and convenience.

Where do you draw the line? When is it worth it to go the extra mile to save money? At what point do you decide that your time is worth more than the potential savings?

Please leave a comment addressing those issues or email me at Please also answer the survey featured below.

My deadline is tomorrow morning. I will give credit with full attribution, including your site/blog address if I use your ideas or quotes.

The article will appear in the newspaper during November.

How do you balance cost vs convenience?
Saving money matters most in nearly all of my transactions
Convenience matters most
When pressured for time, I don't care about price tags
I'd walk a mile to save a few dollars
I try to strike a balance between cost and time
Free polls from


Kira said...

My general view is that I try to save money in some areas, and go the long route in doing so, so that I have the money (and therefore the freedom) to cut corners and do things the expensive, convenient way later. This to me is what personal finance is all about - making GOOD choices that still get you what you want, instead of haphazardly trying to strike at a magical balance.

2million said...

Its a constant battle. There are certainly times when everything is out the window and anything that offers convenience at any price is worth it.

I find balance by going the extra mile to save money as normal practice. I don't even consider the convenience factor unless I'm in crisis mode.

Rich Slick said...

The method I use breaks it down what you earn on an hourly level. If you earn $75/hour at work then unless you're getting $75 dollars of value per hour it's not worth the cost.

Example. I don't mow my own lawn. It would take me about two hours (on Saturday) to mow my lawn, trim the edges, pick up the grass/leaves and toss them in a bag. Two hours of my time = $150.

I can pay lawn service company to do the exact same job (even better than I could do it) for $25.

I then have two free hours to research investments, spend time with the kids or do something more valuable with my time.

If on the other hand, I made $10/hour then I'd probably mow the lawn myself.

Frugal Duchess: Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Kira: Thanks for your comment linking the question to the personal finance decision-making process.

2million: I appreciate the way you framed the issue as a constant battle.

Rick: The hourly angle also brings a fresh issue to the question.

Thanks so much for the insights. And thanks to those who sent emails.

I'll post the article next month when it appears in the newsaper.

Angie said...

This is a question I've never figured out how to address on my blog. It certainly is one that comes up often. Hope I'm not too late to comment!

I believe we're evolutionarily programmed to seek the easy way out (convenience) whenever possible. It's the whole conservation of energy thing.

Only when there's a greater pay off (when the bargain is "worth" more than saving energy and time) do we choose bargains over convenience. The payoff may be the ability to pay all your bills that month, or it could be the ability to assuage your guilt for overspending in another area, or it could be the little adrenaline rush you get when you score a great deal--now that's the hunter instinct kicking in I think!

Good luck with your article, Sharon!

Lazy Man and Money said...

Some of your poll questions seem to mean the same. "I'd walk a mile to save a few dollars" and "Saving money matters most in nearly all of my transactions" probably are the same people.

That said I probably do 10 mental calcuations a day deciding if convenience is worth the money. Everytime you fill up with gas, do you go to the close place or to the place out of your way to save money. This is one where I will fill up only a 1/3 tank until I happen to be around the cheap place.

Do you go to different grocery stores to take advantage of the specials? I tend to do this, but only once every three weeks and try to stock up specials for some time.

Do I have all my laundry done for me? Nope, it's way too much to pay by the pound when I have a washer and dryer at home.

Do I make breakfast or buy it? I make it because I found a quick and easy breakfast that makes it more convenient and cheaper than buying it.

I could go on, but each decision has it's own time/cost mathematics behind it.

I don't fully believe in Rich Slick's method only because I can't choose to work more hours and get $75 an hour. I'm capped by salary. If I want to get paid for working more hours, I have to look for another job and that second job isn't likely to pay as much as my first. It's probably not as flexible as my lawn is, if I decide that I want to do it later too.

Frugal Duchess: Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Angie: Thanks! I like the energy conservation focus.

Lazy man: You are so right about the language in my poll question. With more time, I would have written less (LOL)

And I appreciate your mental calculations. I save more money when I go through that kind of exercise.