Why Pay a Full Price

Written by Azat MardanAugust 10, 2016

Let me share a little secret. 😉 While it’s nice to get a discount and save a few bucks, especially when you’re going to buy a thing anyway, there is something magical in when you pay a full price. You’ll tend to enjoy the thing more, feel better about yourself and use the thing more often.

Studies show that this phenomenon of getting benefits of paying the full price (or a premium) is even more applicable to buying something special, something experiential such as an online course, a music CD (which see only at Whole Foods and Starbucks checkout lines), or an event like a seminar or a conference. How many online courses or books did you buy on at a discount and never finished them? 📖 I bet way, way more than the ones for which you’ve paid a full price (and a high one)!

Human brains are wired to appreciate according to the price you’ve paid so buy torrenting a book or a movie or buy looking for coupons to your favorite artists’ or speaker’s performance—you are robbing yourself from a pleasure. It took me a while to realize it, but once I did 💡, I started buying music on iTunes and now subscribe to Spotify as a way to appreciate and give back to my favorite artists.

With commodities, which are all the same, you can get the same sweet potato chips from any website which sells them, so buying the cheapest and most convenient is less damaging to the pleasure (but still is).

That’s why luxury industry exists. The quality of a Gucci bag is not 100 times better. It’s roughly the same. The bonus is in the enjoyment. This principle applies to non-monetary payment, for example when working on a book or a PhD—that’s hard and painful sometimes. However, most people treasure the results and outcomes more after a tougher journey.

So either pay a full price or pretend that you did (and then forget that you pretended), because you’ll get more usage of whatever that thing is.