HomeexpensesSize definitely matters.

Size definitely matters.

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 four years 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…


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 one of the highest resale values out there, it’s paid off, and it still makes me feel like a bada$$ to drive. 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. I consider myself a foodie and love trying great restaurants and food/drinks. I will pay a premium for food if it’s something I want or somewhere I want to go. Actually, it’s one of those things I don’t even care about the price anymore and don’t consider it at all when I choose a restaurant or order. It’s my “thing”.

  2. Hiking gear and biking gear … lack of size and weight really matters to me. I am totally okay with being a “weight-weanie.”

  3. Not going to lie – I love my 52″ TV. It was a total splurge (I did one of those Best Buy credit card deals with no interest for the first 6 months if I paid it off, which I did), but it makes me so happy every time I use it.

  4. Bed- I would not sleep in a bed smaller than a queen. My wife already hogs most of the bed, and anything smaller I might as well sleep on the couch.

    Truck- I got a four door Toyota Tacoma six years ago. To me it didnt make practical sense to get a two door with little bucket seats and minimal leg room in the back. For me size mattered in the fact that I wanted to be able to take people with me, and one day fit car seats in the back.

  5. For me it was the apartment. When I moved out to Seattle I could not bring myself to live in a studio. I went with a one bedroom, which was about a $250 premium over the studio in the building I moved into. No regrets so far, having my sleeping area closed off from the rest of my apartment is worth it.

  6. 1. Bed (I am single and live alone. I love my Queen bed)
    2. Travel (Love visiting the US for a few weeks and spending big bucks whenever I can. Crossing my fingers for Fall 2014 already..)

  7. 1. Travel
    2. Fine food and drink. The caveat being just because a bottle of wine is expensive doesn’t mean it is really any better. There are truely excellent wines at most price points.
    3. Running shoes. I have found that sometimes it really is better to go get fitted and pay the extra amount to buy from the local running store.

  8. Hotels. When we were younger, the hubby and I could only afford the sketchy places when we traveled. But once he started traveling for work and staying at a wide variety of places, good and bad, he is stubborn about avoiding crappy hotels at all costs.

    I do my best to limit the impact on the wallet by using the name your own price tool on priceline. I’ve managed to score 4 and 5 star hotels in NYC and Las Vegas for around $100/night, which is pretty awesome.

  9. We’re not crazy about big things. I don’t have a big rock because at the moment it was either pay for grad school expenses or get a big diamond. You know which one I chose! Our cars are fuel efficient. We are about to buy a 1500 sq. foot home. Which is plenty room, but I have colleagues who are buying 2,000 sq. foot + homes. I do think I would pay more for certain things that people may consider bigger. We paid $3K for a king size tempurpedic mattress. It’s amazing to sleep in. truly heaven and truly worth it. I’m paying for braces. It’s all about your priorities.

  10. I like my 70″ LED but most of my friends consider that small because 2 people in the group have short throw projectors and have over 10′ screens in apartments smaller than your rental. I got it on sale for less than 2k before the Super Bowl 2 years ago. I could have spent less for projector and sound system but I would have to black out the picture window in my livingroom to use it during the day and that wasn’t worth it.

    I was going to replace the 24 inch in wall oven I have with a 30 inch dual convection inwall. That idea died when I found out the 24 inch oven had no safety mechanism for bake mode and I can get my pizza stone up to 750 degrees if I set the oven to bake and the temp to clean.

  11. I splurge only occasionally. About 12 years ago I was travelling on my own in Germany and it was my 53rd birthday, so I treated myself to a $175 dinner (adjust for inflation) at Tantris, Munich’s most renowned restaurant. Once in a while I’ve spent $200 for orchestra seats at the Metropolitan Opera. Recently it was $125 for a front row center seat to see Cherry Jones in “The Glass Menagerie” on Broadway. But tomorrow I’ve got the opera and it’s only $45 to sit way up at the top. The acoustics are better there anyway.

  12. For my 30th birthday, my friend and I went to Vegas and we splurged on $100+ tickets to see the Cirque du Soleil show O – totally amazing and worthwhile!

    I bought a 3 bedroom house – I don’t *need* a 3 bedroom house for one person. But I grew up listening to my mom, who firmly believed that a 3 bedroom 2 bath house was the *smallest* she was willing to buy – because it was the easiest to rent out and the easiest to sell in the future. There are other reasons I got a 3 bedroom, but my mom is the reason I wouldn’t even consider a 1 or 2 bedroom house.

  13. Oh man, this is right up my alley. I’m a huge proponent of go big or go home. From experiences like concerts to items such as food and electronics, you tend to get what you pay for. Of course everyone wants the best for the least amount of money, but unless you get lucky or are skilled in the art of haggling, it rarely happens that way. I think the biggest issue with this kind of thinking is that the possibility of overspending can occur and put people in a bad financial situation.

    BTW, clever cartoon!

  14. I pay a premium for quality and reliability. Our pots and pans are All-Clad, definitely not the cheapest on the market, but they are high quality, reliable, cookware.

    But when it comes to our home, we don’t need anything bigger than our basic needs. We rent, so we can always go bigger if our family expands. Same with the car. Our Prius isn’t the biggest, but it’s perfect for our 3-person family right now.

  15. Furniture. I am so tired of rinky dink put it together yourself budget furniture. For our house we are saving up and buying one nice, big, quality piece at a time. When I actually get furniture delivered that I don’t have to sit and assemble for 4 hours I feel like a Queen. Love it!

  16. My splurge is food. My husband and I spend about $1k per month at restaurants. This includes dinners over $100 for the two of us which is a weekly thing and the less frequent $300-500 dinner at nice restaurants (typically when we travel to NYC, abroad, etc).

  17. Man I usually really like your writing, but I have to disagree with you here, and with many of your commenters. It sounds like you are saying “if you want something, do it! don’t let reason get in the way”

    I think the key is whether big $ has big VALUE. Buying furniture, mattresses, tools, or clothes can all be worth stepping up to the big $ if what you are buying will last longer, perform better, and have more value $ compared to the normal options. Meals on the other hand have little additional value whether you spend $30 or $400. If you don’t want to save that $ you might consider giving it to a food related charity and feed many many people rather than 2.

    As for rings, all I can say is no one has ever asked my wife how big her .6 carat ring is and judged her for it. It would be very weird if they did.

  18. If you want to get super technical with diamonds, GN can’t say that she has a 1 carat either. She has to say either just over a carat or a little under 1.25.

    .95-1.05 = 1 carat range 🙂

    I say this as someone with a 1.1 carat stone.

    We’re all about living on the best block, not having the nicest house on it. Location means so much more to us (within reason) than our actual living quarters.

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