5 Times Splurging on Experiences Is a Bad Idea

If you're a regular reader of Wise Bread, you know that we encourage you to spend your money on experiences rather than material things. You will be happier if you make great memories, rather than stockpiling great electronics, clothes, shoes, watches, and jewelry. But there are two sides to every story. And sometimes, these experiences are just not worth the splurge.

1. Exotic destination weddings

We've all received those wedding invitations that, at first, seem like a dream come true. We picture ourselves tanning on a beach in Hawaii or Jamaica with a cocktail and a smile. But that's usually not the case. Destination weddings don't give you a lot of time to yourself. You are there for the bride and groom. It's their big day, they've spent a lot of money on it. You'll be expected to go to rehearsals, receptions, and other parties. You may well have to hang out with a bunch of people you don't know or even like all that much. And to top it all off, you're paying through the nose to go on this trip. It will likely cost thousands. You might make some good memories from it, but this isn't the same as a vacation on your own terms. (See also: 6 Ways to Resist a Splurge)

2. Tickets to the Super Bowl

Blasphemy, right?! Well, not really. When it comes down to it, a trip to the Super Bowl is a great experience if you can get it for the right price. But if you're buying the tickets through the secondary market, or even worse, getting an "On Location Experience," you are going to be spending a small fortune. SeatGeek.com states that the average price of a Super Bowl 52 ticket will be between $2,500 and $3,000. For those On Location Experiences, you're looking at between $6,000 to $12,000. Up to $12,000 to see a football game. Now, think about the experience you're going to have for that money. You're there, in the stadium, but most of the time you're actually watching the action on the big screen projection. You're paying an arm and a leg for food and drinks. You also had to pay to get to the Super Bowl and stay in a hotel, unless you're lucky enough to live in that city. (See also: How One Man Used Credit Card Rewards to Go to the Last 11 Super Bowls)

What else could you do with that money? How about two weeks in Europe? Or Japan? Or paying down debt? Wouldn't that be a better use of your money? Forget the Super Bowl experience, and watch it on a big screen at home with your friends and family.

3. Extremely high-priced restaurants

There are some restaurant experiences that balance good food with a reasonable check at the end of the meal. And there are others that just blow the budget completely out of the water. You may be thinking that once, just once, you want to spend a whole lot of money on an amazing meal … just to experience it. Well, honestly, you will not be getting your money's worth. For example, Sublimotion in Spain charges over $2,000 per person for a series of 15-20 small courses. It gets exceptional reviews of course, but $2,000 for a meal is just an absurd waste of your cash, and you will find stunning food in your area for way, way less money. (See also: The World's Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants)

4. A trip on the Orient Express

I mean, it's a train. It may be the most famous train the world, but is it worth the cost to ride? If you were to book a cabin suite from Paris to Istanbul, the cost is almost $16,000! If you instead opt for a double or single room, it's still up there at around $8,000! And what do you get for that? Honestly, not all that much. Some nice food, some fancy service, and nice views.

However, if you purchase a First Class InterRail ticket for the same journey, with the same views, you will only be out of pocket around $400 per person. Don't bother with the Orient Express. It's overpriced and underwhelming, and includes a lot of wood paneling and polished brass.

5. The big fight

Despite the phenomenal rise in popularity of UFC, world-class boxing matches still command massive audiences. And it seems massively inflated ticket prices, too. In 2015, Forbes reported that the Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao fight had ticket prices so incredible they broke records. As hard as it is to believe, some tickets went on sale for upward of $350,000! That's right, over a quarter of a million dollars, for a fight that many thought did not come close to living up to the title of "Fight of the Century." If you're thinking, Well, yeah, but most tickets didn't cost anywhere near that price, then you're right. The worst seats in the house were being sold for over $3,500 per ticket. And that would have gotten you on the upper level with a view that left a lot to be desired. People were spending upward of $150 to attend the weigh-in for that fight! And these fights will continue to garner a lot of attention, and ask for grossly-inflated sums of money. Watch it on Pay-Per-View if you really want to see it, and split the cost with your friends.

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5 Times Splurging on Experiences Is a Bad Idea

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