Delayed Gratification, Take II

English: Zach Galifianakis as Alan from

How much would you pay for a kiss from the world’s sexiest celebrity?

That was the focus of a recent study that I can’t find today.   There is no celebrity waiting in the wings to deliver the drool, and the study doesn’t name which celebrity it is.  That’s an exercise for the reader.

This was a study into how we value nice things.

The fascinating part of the study is that people would be willing to pay more to get the kiss in 3 days than they would to get the tongue slipped immediately.

Anticipation adds value.

Instant gratification actually causes us to devalue the object of our desire.

This goes well beyond “Will you respect me in the morning?”

The last time I talked about delayed gratification, it was in the context of my kids.   That still holds true.   Kids don’t value the things that are handed to them.

The surprising–and disturbing–bit is that adults don’t, either.  If I run out to the store to buy an iPad the first day I see one, I won’t care about it nearly as much as if I spend a week or two agonizing over the decision.

The delay alone adds to the perceived value.  The agony turns the perceived value into gold.

If I spend a month searching for the perfect car, the thrill of the successful hunt adds less value than the time it took to do the hunting.

Here’s my frugal tip for today:  Delay your purchases.  While it may not actually save you any money, you will feel like you got a much better deal if you wait a few days for something you really want.

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  • 4 comments

    Comments

    1. Delayed gratification is a great tip. It is even better when you’re waiting you decide you don’t need it, find a better deal, or a cheaper alternative.

    2. I am actually not a big fan of delayed gratification, but I will say that when I have to wait for something, it does feel awesome when it happens. For example, we started this whole getting-a-home-built process 5 weeks ago and still have 3-4 months to go. By the time we move in, I’ll think the place is made of freaking gold…

    3. I think delayed gratification forces me to save money. It makes me think about if I really want the item. It also forces me to think about alternative ways to get a similar item. I mean, if I have to wait four weeks to receive a t-shirt in the mail, can’t I find the shirt at a better price, without shipping, a lot faster?

    4. I’m all for delayed gratification – no just about purchasing things. My kids get as excited about the run up to birthday and Christmas because we do “count-downs” and plan cool but frugal things to do as a family.

      I wouldn’t say the “Day” is an anti-climax more that the anticipation and run up is so much more fun

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