The $500 Mistake

$500 mistake

We all have different personalities and things that we find fun. For many years, I’ve known that I am not the sort of person who enjoys going out to crowded places and doing the “typical” Friday and Saturday night activities of movies, restaurants, and bars/clubs. I’m also not thrilled by crowded athletic events or concerts. Part of it is the high price tag associated with many of these activities and part of it is that I just don’t like crowds. But a few weeks ago I made an exception. Some old friends came into town and they are definitely the sort that like to have crowded fun. They want to do what everyone else is doing, or what’s “hot” in town. They wanted to spend the weekend going to a concert, restaurants, a movie, and a hockey game. I said, “Sure.” That was my mistake.

The grand total that I spent on the weekend was north of $500. That included tickets to the events, meals, and parking for my husband and I. And that was with us trying to be somewhat frugal, at least at the restaurants. (My friends covered their own expenses.) More than the money, though, was the misery of that weekend. Everything was crowded with pushing, loud people. We spent hours sitting in traffic for the concert and the hockey game. We waited for tables at the restaurants only to get food that was mediocre. We had to shout at each other to be heard no matter where we went. (I was still shouting three days later because I’d gotten into the habit.) Whenever we’d try to have a conversation we were interrupted by other people shouting at each other so it’s not like any of this was quality time with our friends. The movie was a misery thanks to people talking and using their phones in the theater. All in all, I received nothing but unhappiness from my $500 and I was left thinking of all the other, more enjoyable things I could have done with that money

The point of this story isn’t that you should never go to an expensive event or get out in crowds. If you genuinely enjoy that sort of thing, go right ahead. The point is that you have to know what makes you happy and know when to say, “No,” to activities that are going to end up making you miserable and wasting your money. I should have told my friends that I would be happy to go to one of the activities, but not all of them. That would have been a good compromise.

We could have spent the days together hanging out at quieter/less expensive venues and then I could have sent them off at night to do all the other things they wanted. We still would have had time together, but I wouldn’t have ended up exhausted and unhappy. It would be the same if I went to visit them and made them stay in every night reading classic literature. I would be having fun, but they would be miserable. The compromise would be for me to stay in at night and read while letting them go off to party. We could spend the days doing other things together and preserve our sanity.

In order to have fun and get the most out of the money you spend on fun, you have to know what will bring you joy. If you don’t like certain kinds of fun, no matter how popular that fun may be, you’re going to end up resenting the wasted money. So save the money for the things you enjoy. If you’re feeling pressured by your friends to do something else, either find a good compromise or say no. Everyone will survive, you’ll have a better time (and better quality time) and you’ll save money.

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7 Responses to The $500 Mistake

  1. getforfree says:

    Some people think it’s fun to be in a noisy crowded place. It’s not fun for me, it’s hard work to put up with all that noise. So, unless I am getting paid or earning money or getting something I need (like groceries and household items) almost for free with coupons or something, why would I make myself annoyed with all those people?
    I love being by myself. It’s way more fun that getting tired from a noise and a crowd. That’s why I usually shop late night or very early morning (so I could be back before kids get up for school) when the stores are almost empty and no traffic.
    Sometimes I feel like I would do anything to avoid people and all their noise and them taking my space and wasting my time all the time.

  2. jodi says:

    wow. great article. sometimes i feel that way.- the resentment part. kinda felt it a bit last wk actually. not always though. you win some you lose some. you never know if you r going to have a really goo’d night out or not. sometimes it’s a tossup. but you usually do end up spending too much money.

  3. Kharisma says:

    Excellent advice!

  4. Minny says:

    I wonder if sometimes we think that we SHOULD enjoy these ‘good time’ things and that is why it’s so hard to say no thanks!

  5. audrey samz says:

    What a relief! I thought I was the only one that “doesn’t know how to have a good time”. Glad to hear I’m not alone in my desire to not hang out in crowded, loud, annoying, valueless venues. The money spent is just adding insult to injury. Maybe we can start our own club? :)

  6. Gailete says:

    We were given a gift card to a restaurant and so we decided to try it out. Opened the first door and we were assaulted by the noise coming out of the place and they weren’t playing Beethoven which we might have been able to handle, LOL. We turned around and walked away and ended up at one of our favorite eateries. The gift card was given to someone else.

    My husband and I both hate noisy crowds. While I can handle more people around than he does, we don’t ever voluntarily put ourselves in that position ever, nor would we spend $500 on a weekends entertainment just cuz some friends wanted to do those things.

  7. getforfree says:

    We are not weird. It just that some people sometimes trying to make us feel guilty about not wanting to waste our time and hard-earned money on things that are not fun.

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