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Times That I Do Not Want My Money’s Worth

September 16, 2011 · 88 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

Over the course of my life, I have spent a lot of money.  When I actually do depart with my money, I usually want it to be well spent, and I want full value. If I feel like I am even slightly ripped off, I am the first person to complain and try to get partial reimbursement, except in two instances

  1. College Classes.  I probably should not admit to this since my kids read this site on occasion, but I was a terrible student.  I got good grades and all, but I was the least focused person. In all honesty, I was in college just to get my degree, and that was it.  Plus I actually learned better just from reading the assignment and taking notes myself then sitting through a lecture.  So, anytime the professor dismissed class early, I was the first one running out of the room. Once in awhile, some student would protest the early dismissal and the professor would then teach the full class session.  I always wanted to slap those kids that made me stay longer than necessary.  (Sorry if you were one of those people, I don’t mean to offend.)  I paid for college myself, so it was my own money that was not being put to full use when class was canceled or dismissed early.  However, I loved not getting full value for my money in that instance.
  2. Travel Sports.  Now, 99 percent of the time, I want the coach fully engaged and particpating during practices and games.  As a matter of fact, I get quite frustrated when the coach doesnt seem to care about the outcome of a game, and I have seen that happen on rare occasions.  (Usually that is when we are playing a very difficult team and the coach just expects our team to get killed.  I hate when the coach gives up before the players do.)   However, I am currently sitting in my car typing this post while my son is at soccer practice, and we are experiencing our second straight day of solid rain.  Had the coach sent an email earlier today stating practice was canceled due to inclement weather, you would have heard me cheering from the rooftop.  Yes I pay this coach whether we have practice or not, but I wouldn’t mind my son getting a break from playing in the cold, wet weather.  As much as I get frustrated with the lack of communication from coaches, I do give them credit for weathering the elements when they could just as easily cancel practice.

I find it interesting that I am willing to accept less than one hundred percent full ‘return’ on my investment in certain situations.  Maybe I am willing to be “shortchanged” in the instances mentioned above because time is not a tangible asset.  Maybe if  I had to hand over a twenty dollar bill to the Professor at the start of each class it would have bothered me more if class was dismissed early.  However, since the money expenditure happens up front and is actually earned over time, I dont think I really thought much about how money was wasted on lazy professors in college.  I just thought “cool, now I can eat lunch earlier.”

Are there any expenses in your life that you realize you are willing to pay for, even though you may not get your full money’s worth?

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Reasons September 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

I’m with you on college profs! If they prof was good, I always looked forward to the class, but if the teacher was basically one that read directly from the book in a monotone manner, well then shoot I can read a book! I found that the profs that had field experience had more to offer than the profs that got a doctorate but no real world experienced (by experience I mean that they didn’t working in the real world).

It’s funny, those profs that have no experience are the ones that complain the loudest…

I was always tickled on those particular classes, when I wouldn’t come to call anymore and instead just read the book at home. I would come in take the test and score better than my buddies that came to the class religiously every day. I bet they were pissed! (lol).

I learned early on to stay away from most classes where the profs had tenure, mostly they just coasted teaching less than accurate stuff (especially my macroeconomics class). I would not pick a class with a professor that had tenure unless other friends recommended that particular professor that had tenure. Sometimes tenured professors tend to miss the obvious for their basic bias theories…

Good article 🙂

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Kris September 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. I actually had a finance professor who was awful. Same tests semester after semester (kids had copies and knew the answers before the test was even given). AT the end of the year, he handed our the surveys and he said ‘you can write whatever you want and it won’t matter because I have tenure’. Pretty gutsy but hey, gotta appreciate the honesty.

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Money Reasons September 17, 2011 at 8:48 am

There is definitely something very wrong when you no longer have to produce or do you job just because you have over 10 years in. Sad, very sad 🙁

I’ll admit, I took a few of those elective classes like the one you describe because it was an easy class. Didn’t get much out of those classes though (other than developing a bad taste for tenured profs…)

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Holly September 16, 2011 at 10:55 am

Yes, my kids’ piano teacher sometimes goes 15 minutes over. At 7:30 pm I want to get home and finish my end-of-the-day routine! Selfish reason, I know, but I like to be able to focus on checking the kids’ homework and pressing uniforms, etc. without feeling too tired.

Also, my kids complain sometimes that the material is too difficult for them to play…which leaves them feeling incompetent and wanting to quit lessons. I wish the teacher would adjust her competitive nature a bit for those students who are just finding it fun to play the piano, to be like a ‘hobby’…rather than wanting each child to seek a lifelong endeavor for perfection! Challenge is good but overkill is not!

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Kris September 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Hey Holly, that is not selfish at all. Time is a precious commodity and in the grand scheme of things, piano perfection may not be the most important thing in the world.

Do you think you might need a different piano teacher that might be more in line with your family’s goals?

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retirebyforty September 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I think I would have learned a lot more if I delay college a few years. I just wanted good grades and my degree at the time. I would take a lot more time to learn the subject I like and enjoy the educational experience much more now that I’m more mature.
I like to get my money’s worth… I can’t think of anything that I wouldn’t want my full money’s worth. Tough question for me….

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Kris September 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I thought I would be more ready for school if I waited longer, but you know, I still don’t enjoy sitting in meetings or training or anything, so I don’t know that I would handle it differently if I am being honest. I will say though that the smaller class size and such of graduate school was much more worthwhile than undergad, so maybe it more about the way subjects are taught that make people less interested in learning.

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krantcents September 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

The short answer is “no”! I sometimes will chase just a few dollars based on principles. I have complained to customer service and others when I have been wronged. If it is something trivial, I just won’t buy it again or return to the store or restaurant.

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Kris September 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I have the same way about 90 percent of things in life. However, I have found that I am willing to sacrifice money if it gives me some free time.

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20's Finances September 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm

That’s a very good point that we are able to accept less than full value for some things. While I enjoyed school, I always enjoyed a day off or cancelled course. Heck, I think even the professors enjoy it. I can’t think of anything specific, but I know that there are times that I don’t maximize my investment because of convenience.

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Kris September 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I guess it is a way of paying for free time, which can be a great thing. Being held captive in class is usually not real fun, so being set free was always preferable to me.

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Ashley @ Money Talks September 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I hear ya on the college classes. I never understood the whole “you are paying for this so we are going to stay the whole time”. I’m not paying for the lecture, I’m paying for the credits. 🙂

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Kris September 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I am with you Ashley! I don’t remember most of what I learned in my European History class or most other classes anyway, so I preferred fun and eating!

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Anytime I get cafeteria food. (Which is very rare).

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Kris September 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

You know, I may be the only person in the world that feels this way, but I always liked cafeteria food! I thought dorm food was great, and so much of it!

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funancials September 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

My gym membership. Do I fully optimize it? Never; but I don’t mind paying for it.

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Kellen September 19, 2011 at 9:25 am

We have a pay-by-the-pound for food place at work. No matter what you get, you pay the same $5 (or something) per lb of food. Everyone who goes there always makes a big fuss about getting meat and sushi, so that they getting the most value per pound. I will go ahead and get rice and pasta, since that’s what I want to eat for lunch – why get the meat just because it’s more expensive per pound than rice typically?

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First Gen American September 19, 2011 at 11:44 am

Along the same lines as education, at this point in my career, I’d rather not get “professional training.” You know those classes. Leadership essentials, finance for non finance people. I’ve taken most of them once already and these days, it’s not like it’s time off, it’s like working 2 jobs because you have the training during the day and you still have to do your day job stuff during breaks and after work. I don’t volunteer for those anymore and only go if I’m mandated to.

I also don’t feel like I’m getting a better deal when a baseball game lasts 4.5 hours instead of 3. (ie, yankees/red sox 8 million pitches type game). Sometimes, but not always I feel the same way about movies. An extra hour doesn’t always make it 30% more enjoyable.

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