Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Would You Do for $5?

Today I came across a coupon, just about to expire, for $5 off the total bill at my local grocery store. I meant to use it toward yesterday's shopping, but forgot completely until I found it this morning in a pile of unread mail.

Seeing as the store is so close to home, I was willing to gamble two blocks for the chance at five extra dollars in my wallet. I still had my receipt, I reasoned, so maybe they'd honor the redemption. (For what it's worth, John thought the chances were slim and wouldn't have made the trip).

The whole thing got me wondering, though: How much farther would it have to be before I said forget it? At what point would diminishing returns make the potential $5 gain less valuable than the time or energy it took to get me there? To be honest, if the store were a couple of blocks farther, or the weather unpleasant, I probably would have opted out. So if that's my tipping point, what kind of story does that tell about me? From financial circumstance to physical capacity to the competing demands on my time. And for what amount of money, and what level of guarantee, would I have made the longer trek? And what would it have taken to risk it all?

There's a fairly specific neighborhood battle that's got me thinking along these lines, and I hope to post about that in a later entry. For now, though, I'm $5 better off than I was an hour ago, but still preoccupied with that triangle around time, space, and money.

1 comment:

tracy said...

Whoa, have you been hanging around with economists lately??