Whoever said size doesn’t matter lied!

May 13, 2011 · 22 comments

Whenever I’m contemplating a big purchase, I always catch myself wondering “Does size really matter?” For most things I’d say it doesn’t, but that’s not always true. Here are a few occasions were size definitely mattered to me.

Girl Ninja’s Engagement Ring:

Yup, I’ll admit it…I’m totally shallow. I met up with Mom Ninja two summers ago at the diamond district in Los Angeles. I had one day to learn everything I possibly could about diamonds. I would approach each jeweler and tell them I was looking for three things in a diamond, 1) It had to be round cut, 2) It had to be about 1 carat, and 3) It had to be certified.

I’d guess over the course of three hours, I probably looked at about 80 to 100 different diamonds. By the end of the day I was able to answer the question, does size really matter? HECK YES IT DID! Could I tell the difference between a 0.97 carat diamond and a 1.01 carat diamond? Absolutely not, but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase anything less than a true carat (darn you, psychological barrier!).

By days end, I was $3,500 poorer and 1.12 carats richer. Was it absolutely stupid of me to pay nearly $800 more for a diamond that was negligibly larger? Probably, but now when people ask how big Girl Ninja’s diamond is, she can honestly say it’s 1 carat. If you are rocking a 0.89 carat diamond and you tell people it’s one carat, you’re going to hell a liar. Here’s a shot of her bling once I had the diamond set…

TV’s:

I’m a dude. Dudes love big TV’s. Big TV’s are expensive. Thus, every man must ask himself does size really matter when it comes to a television? Again, I vote yes. Flat screen TV’s are reasonably priced between 30 and 42 inches. The second you break the 42″ mark, the prices begin to skyrocket. Girl Ninja did a great job decorating our first place, but I always knew there was one thing that bothered her…our 46″ TV. In true man cave fashion, it totally dominated our living room space (especially when you consider our entire condo was only 610 square feet). I loved it, Girl Ninja hated it. If she had it her way we would gotten a 42″ TV, but to me size mattered and it was time to go big or go home. I love the thing and definitely couldn’t imagine buying anything smaller. Big TV’s + Football = Epic Man Time.

My Car:

The summer before my senior year of college I was desperate to part ways with my Chevy Venture minivan (I know what you’re thinking… nothing screams sexy like automatic sliding doors) and trade up to something a little nicer. It was time to go car shopping. If you asked 20 year old ninja does size really matter (and by size I mean newness) I would have said absolutely! I mean I was driving around a freakin’ minivan! It was time for a little lifestyle inflation. I ended up selling the minivan for $5,500 (I paid $1,700 for it) and bought myself a brand spankin’ new Scion tC. The thing is sexy to the max, but that sexiness didn’t come cheap ($18,000). I fully admit it was pretty dumb buying a new car before I even finished college. Fortunately for me, the car has held it’s value relatively well (KBB of $13,500), it’s paid off, and it still makes me feel like a bada$$. Should I have bought a brand new car? Probably not. Do I regret it? Definitely not!

In the world of personal finance, price and rational thinking typically determine somethings value. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our weaknesses. So reader, I ask “Where does size really matter to you”? What things will you generally pay a premium for (first class seats, expensive wines, stainless steel appliances)?

1 Alex

I’m still a student – I try to save as much money as possible considering the mountainload of debt I have to swallow for the tuition fees. The education will pay off in the long run, but for right now I keep money in mind a great deal. I try not to skimp out on food though, I see many of my fellow students living on £1 frozen pizzas every day, whereas I enjoy cooking a great deal and I try to eat somewhat healthily. As well, I hardly drink alcohol (what kind of a sad excuse for a student am I?) but when I do, I splash out on decent stuff, not bum wine and cheap vodka. There’s nothing like a bit of single malt whisky every now and then.

I don’t watch TV so I’m okay on that front and I use public transport instead of having my own car, which saves me a considerable bit of money as well.

2 SWR

If I am going to drink alcohol, it’s going to be the good stuff. (No PBR for this girl).

3 Denise

I’m a recent graduate with a negative net worth (hello student debt!), but I couldn’t help spending more on the couch. There are some things I’m very happy to buy used, but upholstered things aren’t included there because of the craziness of bed bugs. The couch is one of the most significant pieces of furniture in our teensy apartment, and I hope to keep it for a really long time. It has to be comfortable, big enough for someone to sleep on if need be, and match the rest of our apartment. So I dropped a fair bit of coin.

4 Sarah

I am cheap cheap cheap when it comes to a lot of things. When I needed to buy a baby carrier for my little guy though, I went top of the line. For something that I wear about 5 hours daily, loaded with a 20 pound baby, I needed something that wouldn’t kill my back :)

5 Bridget

Vacations. I will love like a peasant everyday in my hometown if it means I can enjoy myself abroad.

Currently I’m in Paris for a month. I probably could have seen everything and gotten a vibe of the city in only 10 days but why? A month is so deliciously indulgent. A few friends came to visit me here for 3 days… And they ate at McDonald’s. Seriously. Everyone should go once just for the novelty of European McCafe but everyday? No. I ate once with them there but then I was back to fresh quiche and lattes for breakfast — so it’s twice the price, it’s still only 4 euro!

I also will only buy Apple products. Nothing compares! I don’t care if you can get the same specs in a Dell for $500, it is not the same!

6 Heidi

I splurge on hotels. No more motels that smell like curry! Since I can fly for next to nothing, I typically have some extra coin to spend on a nice place to sleep. Besides, nicer hotels typically mean nicer areas of town!

I’m with Bridget on the vacation thing as well. I would rather not go on vacation or vacation where I can couch-surf than go abroad and not be able to enjoy myself. Therefore, my really nice vacations are few and far between, but they are fantastic when we do go.

7 Mo D.

I agree with you on the hotels, Heidi! Forgot to include that in my post before I hit “submit”… no more “No Tell Motels” for us!!

8 Mo D.

Both Hubby and I are on-board with your love of Big TV’s. I fought tooth and nail to not buy a big screen when Hubby started talking about it; my way reigned supreme for about 3 years. I finally gave in because I was seriously getting sick and tired of hearing about “how awesome football would look on a big screen” (and we finally had money saved up for it). I can honestly it’s awesome; our 51″ Sony HD Flatscreen has been with us for about 5 years now.

We also won’t skimp on a good mattress for our king-size bed… we wouldn’t buy “top of the line”, but we would certainly pay more for better quality.

9 Investing Newbie

I’m with you on TVs. I don’t play around with that stuff. Although, my dad shares the same sentiment, so that’s why the basement has a delicious 47″. The living room/his man cave has a 55″ so, yeah, dominated.

I would probably say vacations. I want to stay in really comfortable, luxurious places and not worry about my stuff disappearing.

Even though I won’t be buying it, I’ll have to agree on the engagement ring. I do want something big and shiny. Maybe I’ll point the dude to this post…

10 Ninja

I’m glad at least someone admitted that they like “bigger” rocks. Women who pretend they want a smaller diamond is like someone pretending they’d rather drive a Ford than a Lexus.

11 Jenni

I agree with those that said vacations/trips. We don’t have a TV and make a lot of other sacrifices so that we can go to Nicaragua several times a year. It used to be pretty inexpensive, but with two littles in tow now the price has gone up significantly. That said, we think it’s money well spent!

I also recently got my first apple computer. We bought it refurbished, so it was less expensive than it could have been, but after going through two other brands in the last couple of years, we decided to splurge a little bit. I don’t see us going back. We always seemed to have connectivity problems with our other computers in Nicaragua and I haven’t ever had any with the new one.

12 Sara

We had the same discussion about the TV size in our apartment! haha. I wanted a 46″, max, but my man just needed that 50″! Even though our TV is about 6-8 feet from the couch. His reasoning was “but what if we move into a bigger place?” :P I’m used to it now, plus I probably watch it more than he does anyway!

There are some things that I will always go bigger with. Someone mentioned hotels – I agree! While I won’t spend $300 on a hotel, I will use Priceline to get a 4 star hotel for the same price as a full rate 2-3 star, for instance. So when I’m trying to buy higher quality, I at least try and use a coupon ;)

13 First Gen American

My husband did the opposite. You can save how much by shaving .3 off the carat size? Sign me up. My diamond is just under a carat and it was a significant difference in price.

14 Tom

I think I’m just going to play dumb and tell my future wife that I thought the ring looked good. After all, it is an aesthetic item, so why should I care about the stats behind it. Would you look at a woman and say “I think she’s hot, but I need to know her weight.” That would be silly. EIther she looks good or she doesn’t. I think it should be the same with rings.

15 krantcents

Quality matters not size! If size is important, supersize it at McDonald’s or buy a cheap big burger. I always try to buy the best I can afford at the lowest possible price.

16 Larry

I will usually spring for the best seats at the theater or ballet. This can put me in the $125 range for current offerings in New York City. But I tend these days to go less often than I used to, and spend more for a better location. I draw the line at the opera, where the best tickets are in the $300 range (unless they went up to $400 since yesterday).

I also will spend $15 a pound for real Parmesan cheese, not that imitation crap they put in the cardboard canisters.

Generally on vacations I will splurge at least once for a really good meal. In Munich for example, I was traveling on my own and had a 3-hour tasting dinner at Tantris, considered one of the best restaurants in the city. That set me back over $150 about 10 years ago.

17 Steph/seenonflickr

Do people honestly go around asking the size of the diamond in engagement rings? I find that really offensive.

18 Ninja

I was surprised how common it was, mostly during the engagement phase. It seemed many of Girl Ninja’s unmarried friends wanted to know, probably so they could start planning what their ring would be like.

19 Sandy @ yesiamcheap

Size matters with my 401K account. The larger it grows the more satisfied I feel. ;)

20 Lola

Size definitely matters for a piano (along with a bunch of other factors).The hubs and I bought a used upright piano soon after we got married and bought a house, which thrilled me to no end. I never had a piano growning up and can’t play, but the hubs plays very, very well, and the piano lessons stuck on some of the kiddos. BUT – his dream was to have a grand piano. We got a nice windfall about 15 years ago and bought a used 6 ft grand (you think a 46″ TV takes up a lot of room – hah!). We get it tuned twice a year and have the felts replaced as needed,but it’s totally worth it. The sound and tone are still amazing.

21 JoeTaxpayer

We are at 52″. The wall unit was a custom built in, and when Jane asked my the size for the TV, that space is looking for the 65″ to come out. The 52″ was $2000. But, when you price the evening of Sitter, Movie, and Dinner, you quickly realize that it’s not exactly the extravagance people make it out to be.
We were given 4 tickets to the Red Sox last week. The face value was $125 per. $500 plus parking and food. I was thinking how could a TV or iPad be a waste when there were hundreds of people who think $600 for one ball game is worth it? That same $600 would go a long way to buy the 42″er.

22 Bret @ Hope to Prosper

We also bought our diamond rings at the jewelry exchange in Los Angeles and we got a great deal. There is such a huge mark-up on jewelry that its crazy to buy diamonds at a jewelry store in the mall.

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