Following up on my troublesome predicament regarding the $5,200 upgrade, I’ve been reflecting on ‘how’ I could pay for this, if I were to…. I particularly enjoy the way that my brain wants me to believe something, and the effect that has on decision making.
After writing the original post, I wandered to the mailbox, pondering how odd it felt to have a series of positive people and comments, since recently there’s been too many weirdos hanging around the site.. when I arrived, I found a ‘Big Fat Check’ from Ebates for $461. <insert Ebates link and promise that you too, can get rich here, lowly intern>
This got me to thinking, does this mean the upgrade now is really only ~$4,700, because of this free money? This is a slippery slope, and taking it a step further, if the check was valued at exactly $5,200, would that make it free to upgrade?
That’s how a lot of the travel community thinks about income and expenses. I see it a lot with things like ‘I get SPG points for free because the fee is $10 and I get 2% cashback on $500 so it is zero’.
The reality is that you spent the $10, and then you decided to replace that $10 with money that you earned. No difference from spending the $5,200 on the upgrade, and then replacing it with real money, money earned from Ebates <$$$ Link> or from a side gig.
Another reminder here, in that income is income, expense is expense. It is very easy to blur lines when transactions create income and expense at the same time, but they must remain delineated.
Upgrading a Cruise
I’m assuming you have the $5,200 available. You arent putting it on a CC to finance or taking it out of your 401k or IRA. Just do it. Its gonna be a great memory. Cruise space is cramped. If it makes the trip and views better from your room then its gonna be worth it. You dont strike me as the guy laying on his deathbed saying “I wish had another 5k in my IRA”
Well, following on the concept of income is income, does it matter if I take the $5200 out of the 401(k) or not?
What if I have a 401(k) of $1.2M and taxable of $1500?
However you want to explain, it doesnt really matter. I was thinking more on the line of a penalty on a IRA withdraw or a loan on a 401k.
While I don’t know if you will or won’t, you will make your decision on the value to you, considering your companion’s value as well.
For me, the extra 100 feet of room size wouldn’t be worth it but the veranda might to my partner.
A factor not mentioned is that a penthouse class booking often comes with shipboard benefits beyond the room size.
I’m in the troublesome position where the wife doesn’t care for such spending, so I’m the real drama queen in the dynamic. Makes it harder to justify 🙂
How do you get 2% on the $500 purchase for Starwood pts?
Don’t be that guy.
you raise an excellent point with the Ebates check, it’s not necessarily “free money”, invariably, you factored that x% into your purchases.
As far as whether you’ll go for the $5.2k, I think your point about lifestyle inflation is most accurate. You work hard, you have become accustomed to a particular quality of comfort. Besides, you can’t take it with you.
You are like the devil, and I’m sure you’ll be even worse in part two… where I look at the even larger, larger, upgrade….
How come you get an ebates check instead of PayPal?
I get ebates checks because I put it directly into my savings account and if it’s in paypal, I will invariably spend it.
Very easy to just transfer the PayPal balance to your linked bank account.
Not sure… I just hit the ‘send me the money’ button. Paypal works fine for me too.
There’s the conventional wisdom that people regret what they don’t do more than what they do.
That being said. $5200 is a massive amount of money to me. That’s more than enough for an amazing two week vacation for two by my standards.
Reminds me of a “$500 signup bonus covers your AF for 5 years” discussion.
Once the $500 are in your pocket, every year you’re not cancelling the card, you pay AF. Period.