Do You Pay for Convenience?

by Miranda Marquit · 7 comments

Grand Canyon sunset

In recent years, my husband and I have started paying for convenience. Back in the days when we were both in grad school, scraping by with the help of student loans, we did a lot of penny pinching.

Now, though, we’re willing to pay for things that are important to us, and one of those things is convenience.

Are You Willing to Pay for Convenience?

Ultimately, it comes down to priorities. My son and I went on a road trip recently, and one of the decisions I made was to stay at the Grand Canyon Ranch for the West Rim portion of our journey.

The cost of the Grand Canyon Ranch was more than we would pay by staying in Kingman, AZ or Las Vegas, NV. However, by staying far away, I would’ve had to alter our plans in terms of driving and timing. Plus, after enjoying time at Grand Canyon West, I knew I wouldn’t want to drive more than an hour to reach either of those locations.

I decided to pay the extra money to stay just a few miles down the road. The convenience factor was a huge deal to me. That same convenience factor is why we often pay $50 more for plane tickets that leave at more desirable times, and why we pay $1.50 to buy movie tickets online. I’ve also been know to – gasp – buy shampoo and household cleaners at the grocery store, rather than taking the time to go somewhere else and save a couple bucks on the items.

To my family, the time and hassle saved is worth the money.

Would You Rather Have the Money or the Time?

At times, it comes down to the classic consideration of time vs. money. In many cases, the time spent finding the absolute cheapest price, plus the hassles associated with jumping through hoops to make it happen, just aren’t worth it to me. It would take another half hour of my time (or more) to drive to another store, look for what I need, and then pay for it — all to save $4 or $5. In hourly terms, that’s like working for $10 an hour.

My time is worth more than $10 an hour. So, I pay for the convenience of picking up needed items when I’m at the grocery store. Unless I’m planning a major shopping trip to pick up several non-grocery items, the extra stop isn’t worth the trouble to me.

While it’s true that you can’t always afford to pay for convenience, or you might not want to, the values of time and money are still worth exploring in your life.

Think about the people who stand in line for hours on end, just to get a free chicken sandwich that would’ve cost $3.99 or $5.99 or whatever on another day. Is two hours in line worth saving a few bucks? What could they have been doing with that time instead?

Consider your priorities. No, you shouldn’t always pay for convenience. It might not make sense for your situation. But before you completely dismiss the idea, consider what pinching every penny might be costing you in time.

Do you pay for convenience? In what situations? 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

@pfinMario April 9, 2013 at 6:02 am

No, because it’s too easy for it to snowball and it becomes too easy to talk myself into things.

For example, “I paid an extra couple bucks to buy detergent at the grocery store instead of making it myself; why not just spend another few to have someone else do my laundry instead?” Or, “I already didn’t buy meat in bulk and put in the freezer; why not spend another few to eat out?”

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SumoCoupon April 9, 2013 at 6:35 am

Definitely. As you mentioned, my time (and my families time) is often worth more than the time spent saving. @pfinMario, I can see you point in regards to the snowball effect and maybe it is true to some extent. The bottom line is, if I put a value on my time and I am able to spend slightly more for convenience, I’ll do it. Time spent with family in friends is unmeasurable in the large scheme of things.

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Ann April 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

Very rarely do I pay for convenience. Two things I do pay for, though, are home internet and Netflix. The cost of these two things is outweighed by the fact that I don’t have to make a 25 mile round trip to enjoy internet, and I don’t have to rent movies or documentaries at a Redbox or other movie rental place. For most other things, though, I shop carefully taking full advantage of coupons, especially on double coupon days. I buy bulk whenever I can. I make my own laundry soap. It’s worth the time, to me, to do things this way so I don’t have to spend extra money.

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Christian L. April 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Miranda,
I travel quite a bit, but I always crash at friends’ places. In those scenarios, I don’t pay for convenience, but I also don’t think it’d be more convenient to be alone in a hotel. I’ll pay for convenience sometimes, like when I shop online and opt for faster shipping.

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

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Anne @ ImpulseSave April 11, 2013 at 7:17 am

Amen! I do pay for convenience, within reason of course. The flight example is right on – I’ll always pay more for a direct flight over one with a layover. But I’ll make up for it by taking a redeye when I can (which is often cheaper), and always taking a carry-on instead of checking bags.

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Andrea April 11, 2013 at 8:47 am

I figured out how much it cost to go to another store to buy the cheaper laundry soap and toiletries. The subtracted the savings. It was actually cheaper to buy at the grocery store. I don’t have stores like that close by, so with the cost of gas, it was more expensive. Have to take everything into consideration.

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Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide April 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm

The people camping out for the Chick-fil-A sandwiches were doing it because they’d get free Chick-fil-A for a YEAR, not one sandwich, FYI. :)

I try to plan things so that I maximize my time and my convenience. I don’t go to Wal-mart just for shampoo. That would be silly. I go once or twice a month for a whole list of things. Planning ahead is important!

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