You’ve probably heard of a thing called a “convenience fee.” It’s what businesses will do to help cover the cost of using a credit card payment system. There’s no convenience for the customer. Sometimes the cost is even outrageous. It’s like when a candy company describes a small piece as “fun-sized.” There is nothing fun about finishing your dessert in one bite. They should be called “cruelty-sized.”
Depending on what the purchase is, you may not be able to escape the additional fees. Even if you budgeted down to the last cent on those concert tickets to finally see Nickelback live, prepare to get slammed with the convenience fee on top of taxes. Also, prepare all of your senses to feel violated for the length of the show.
There are other situations in life where we actually can weigh out the options between cost and convenience. In trying to save money, it’s often a consideration.
Before paying to solve the issue, I’ll ask myself a few questions. Weighing out the cost and the convenience, it’s time to decide whether or not the price is too much for the inconvenience of the problem.
Is the inconvenience too big to live with?
I’m pretty immune to living in uncomfortable situations. Getting comfortable in my own skin is challenging enough. And the last time I checked, scientists haven’t mastered a full-body transplant. Although, this would explain Brendan Fraser. I don’t mean to make fun but if you’ve seen him recently and had the choice, you would guess he starred in a trilogy called “The Tummy” and not “The Mummy.”
Like everyone, I’ve lived in places with broken doors, broken steps, holes where there shouldn’t be holes…My first car had a driver’s door that wouldn’t open. I was quoted for a $3,000 repair that my 17-year-old self couldn’t afford without quitting school and somehow knowing to invest in Amazon in the early 2000s.
As big of an inconvenience as many of these things may have been, there were ways to get around them. When my childhood home’s front door wouldn’t open, we used one of the backdoors. This probably also helped thwart a few would-be burglars so kudos to my folks on blocking our most obvious fire exit.
We had plumbing issues in my home, too. To solve this, we had to go downstairs to turn the water off and on whenever we needed it. It was a huge inconvenience and pretty embarrassing whenever people came to visit.
As an adult, there are issues I would do my best to solve. However, as I grow older, I can understand why my parents never did. Sometimes, the inconvenience costs less than the dollar price. Walking downstairs to our laundry room–with no working laundry equipment–to turn on our water may have been more about getting me to exercise than anything else.
How many hours do I need to work to fix this?
I don’t mind working. It’s a disgusting thing to admit. We’re supposed to hate work. Our coworkers are supposed to be little demons and our bosses are the devil.
I’m fortunate to have a day job I enjoy and a part-time freelance one I like even more. I don’t dread going to work. And if I could put some household chores aside to work instead, I definitely would.
But of course, it’s not that easy. We were recently quoted with an over $24,000 estimate for a repair we didn’t even know we would need. That’s more than our yearly mortgage payment. It’s a huge percentage of what we make in a year. I’ve contemplated going to the doctors to see if maybe I was born with a third or fourth kindey to sell. Considering the amount of times I use the bathroom, maybe there’s an extra goody in there.
Jenny and I will hold off on the repair for now with the plan to get a quote from someone else. We’re hopeful there was an accidental extra zero added to this first quote.
Will this inconvenience get worse if not handled soon?
Some inconveniences have the potential to get worse. If something is broken, it usually will just stay broken. You just have to work around it with other solutions.
As far as cost is concerned, a broken item usually won’t break more and add to the repair cost. So unless the damage can grow and end up costing more when the time to fix it does arrive, I tend to try and avoid having to pay too soon.
This can change if the inconvenience is daily. A leaking roof is something that cannot be ignored. Most broken doors can wait. Just remember to have some sort of system in place to make sure the wrong people don’t walk in on you in the bathroom. My suggestion in homes where you walk around barefoot: LEGOs.
Can I solve the inconvenience myself and for cheaper?
Fixing things is not a natural skill of mine. I’m one more likely to break an unbreakable item than to read a step-by-step guide and get it correct on the first try. It’s a gift.
Thanks to the internet and that little cheap voice inside my head reminding me not to spend money, I’ve been able to learn a lot more about fixing things.
When we moved into our home, Jenny and I did the painting. We also hung our own blinds. And as frustrating as it was to get the drill bit stuck in the wall for close to two hours, we gained a little more confidence in being able to do things for ourselves rather than pay an expert. We also saved a couple hundred dollars or more by suffering for a few days.
A lack of blinds in a home is the exact kind of inconvenience worth solving. Especially when you move into a new neighborhood, you don’t want the house across the street to get to know you too well, too soon.
Life is full of inconvenience. Identifying which ones are worth paying for is the challenge we will all always fight with.
If there’s one takeway here it’s this:
NOTHING IS EVER AS EASY AS THEY ARE IN TUTORIAL VIDEOS.
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The book that convinced us to start investing and being more proactive with our money and lives: The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias
The gear we use to make our YouTube videos at the Practically Humans YouTube Channel
• Sony ZVE10 Camera
• Sony Retractable Zoom Lens
• MOVO Shotgun Microphone
• Audio Cable
• Memory Card
• RGB Lights
• Studio Light
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