Not what I thought they were
Had a really interesting experience the other day, one that taught me more about my values. I'm going to share it here not because this specific insight will help you, but because it's a good example of the kind of mindfulness that allows you to fine-tune your spending to maximize happiness.
So, a bit of background first.
I like red wine, enough to know that I like grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but not much beyond that. I am happy paying 1500 yen or so for a bottle in the supermarket.
I have friends that really like wine. They learn about it, talk about aromas and bouquets, and mention vanilla, tobacco, and leather, none of which I thought were in wine.
The other week I got invited to go out with them and drink wine. It was a special occasion, and normally I would be working on Saturday evening, but I rescheduled work and met up with my friends. We went to a wine restaurant (a place that serves wine and small amounts of food that go with wine) and then a wine bar (a place that serves more expensive wine and tiny amounts of food that go with wine).
The first place cost 8,000 yen a head and the second was 4,000 for me (I left early to catch my train).
I was kind of unsatisfied the next day. Apart from the hangover, I wasn't happy with how much money the evening had cost.
Now, don't get me wrong, it was great to see my friends and drink some nice wine. It's just that the wine did not provide me with the enjoyment I would have expected for the amount of money.
And it wasn't the amount. I would be happy to spend that much on an amazing meal, or to spend 4,000 yen to spend a couple of hours in the Green car on the shinkansen when I am tired or need to work.
What this tells me is that I don't value wine, and therefore shouldn't spend money on nice wine. I should go out and get nice food with my friends, and let them indulge their wine hobby without me.
It's fair enough, I am sure they would find it stupid to pay for some of the things that I like :)
So here's the lesson: if you pay attention, you can learn what makes you happy and what doesn't. Then you can spend money on the things that make you happy and stop spending it on the things that don't. You'll save money and be happier.
How about you? Have you had a similar experience?