Social conventions have created a gravity-like force around special events and occasions, granting a free-pass to spend recklessly. Most people are sucked into these gravitational fields and conform to the economically damaging expectations. I like to call this “SOS” (Special Occasion Syndrome). Just like the Morse code distress signal, SOS, it’s a cry for help. If you are able to harness the strength to resist, you might just be richly rewarded.
The Story: I married my amazing and longsuffering wife, Katie, about 5 years ago. While Katie was preoccupied with wedding details, I was responsible for honeymoon planning. In order to manage the competing priorities of experience maximization and budget moderation, I explored some unconventional options.
What followed were detailed Excel spreadsheets outlining costs broken out by transportation, housing, food, activities, etc. Every conceivable way you could imagine taking the fun out of vacation planning, I figured out.
Aloha! As we gazed out over the beautiful ocean-view balcony of our accommodations on the island of Kauai, all the planning stress melted away. After the matter of a 90-minute timeshare tour following lunch, we could resume our honeymoon. At this point it’s worth mentioning that I know I won the Mega-Jackpot in the tolerant spouse lottery.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Einstein’s theory of time dilation. As we experienced it, clocks in a timeshare presentation run much slower than reference clocks on the beaches of Kauai. In fact, our 90-minute tour turned into a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour… (Cue ‘Gilligan’s Island’ melody)The Breakdown: Marriage is a wonderful occasion and should be celebrated and revered. That doesn’t mean, however, you put yourself into enormous debt or abandon your economic principles.
We had amazing adventures on our honeymoon and the little timeshare detour was a quirky and memorable diversion. Sitting through the sales pitch also ended up saving us almost $1,000 to boot, all while in a more luxuriously appointed resort than we would’ve otherwise been able to afford, courtesy of the timeshare company. That’s not a bad haul for a few hours of our time. (I’ll be sure to cover the topic of timeshares in a future post.)
It’s too easy to fall into the gravitational pull. Many people develop Special Occasion Syndrome and use it as an excuse to spend freely with reckless abandon. One only needs to look at Facebook to see photos of honeymoons and vacations at exotic, richly-appointed getaways. It’s easy to rationalize the expense as a special once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The problem, however, is that it’s nearly impossible to compartmentalize that line of reasoning. We have attended more elaborate toddler birthday parties costing in excess of $600 than I care to count. The typical proverb: “They are only going to be (insert any age) once.”
Upon reflection, I recognize I was never quick to share the timeshare details of our honeymoon with many people. While I didn’t get sucked into the gravity, I didn’t do anything to help counterbalance it either.
Now I have a responsibility to my readers – grab hold of the Richonomics Satellite and pull yourself out of the gravitational field.