Emotional Purchases: Our Anniversary Indulgence

Posted on November 6, 2007 by Melissa 
Filed Under Psychology, Reflection, Shopping

Tradition can be yummyTo say that we didn’t spend any money on our anniversary isn’t entirely true.  We did decide at the last minute to spend some money on a treat for the both of us. 

Traditionally, the bride and groom eat the top tier of their wedding cake on their first anniversary.  We saved ours for this purpose.  About two weeks after the wedding I realized it was taking up too much freezer space and said that we would eat it on our first month “anniversary” instead.  We would just get a fresh one made if we decided to honor the tradition when we reached a year.

The morning before our anniversary Eric and I discussed getting a replacement topper to celebrate the occasion.  In order to stay true to tradition, I contacted the bakery that made our wedding cake and asked what it would cost to make a small round topper like our original cake (without the decorations).  It was white cake filled with fresh strawberries and cream cheese all iced in buttercream.  Yum!

I knew it wasn’t going to be a cheap cake but the price still caught me off guard.  I asked if they sold the cake by the slice but they didn’t – I would have to get a cake made and the smallest one fed six.  After exhausting the options on the phone with her I impulsively said that would be fine, and placed an order for the bare minimum to be ready the following day.

When I hung up the phone a little wave of panic set in and I questioned my decision.  I ended up calling a few friends to ask if I made a mistake and if I should cancel it.  My mother said that I should cancel the order and suggested making one from scratch to save money.  Although I normally would have made the cake myself we weren’t having the cake just to have cake.  Either we followed tradition with that particular cake or we didn’t need to do it.  It certainly wasn’t a requirement for us.

When I chatted with Eric about my concerns I was surprised to hear that he still wanted to get the cake.  He said that we weren’t just buying any old cake; we were keeping with tradition for our first anniversary and that should be considered in the decision.  He also said that we could make it work in our budget by counting it into food costs.  I agreed that it was a lovely thing to do and with my husband’s encouragement I decided not to cancel the order. 

This was definitely an emotionally driven purchase rather than a rational one.  After placing the order my rational side immediately alerted me that I needed to step back and ask for other’s opinions.  Honoring tradition (especially when it is wedding related) can elicit a strong emotional response and I realized I might not be able to trust my own judgment in this situation. 

I wonder if this emotional response is what leads “normal” people to buy really expensive wedding gowns, designer baby furniture, huge diamond engagement rings, even costly funeral caskets.  I can’t imagine these are completely rational purchases.  There must be an emotional component influencing the decision.

To help cover the cost of this emotional purchase my rational side will take the cost of the cake from the grocery budget.  That should be fine since we are already planning to limit our grocery purchases this month to mainly the fresh essentials.  In preparation for the move we are cleaning out the pantry and freezer so my grocery trips will cost significantly less.

*drool*And boy, is it a good cake!  Thoroughly and utterly delicious!  The cake is more like eight or ten servings, not six, so we are still enjoying it this week.

Of course, this will not become a yearly thing.  It was a $40 splurge only suited for the first anniversary.  When you think about what this anniversary COULD have cost us (in gifts we didn’t buy for each other) I think we got by on a dime. 

Ok, so it was about 400 dimes, but that’s still not bad!  :-)


12 Responses to “Emotional Purchases: Our Anniversary Indulgence”

  1. Libby on November 6th, 2007 1:07 pm

    Wow, that cake certainly looks delicious. I think you did great. You didn’t get the presents you didn’t want/need but chose to spend less and get something that meant a lot to you and your husband. And knowing how much the cake cost I bet your really enjoyed and appreciated EVERY mouthful. Best of all you still celebrated your anniversary.


  2. Blogging My Way out of Debt » Blog Archive » Posts in the Blogosphere on November 6th, 2007 4:30 pm

    […] A Penny Closer has an Anniversary to remember […]

  3. Jennifer on November 6th, 2007 4:52 pm

    It is beautiful and sounds delicious!

  4. Kacie on November 6th, 2007 6:15 pm

    Happy anniversary! That cake looks marvelous and worth every penny! We didn’t save ours, since we were moving 7 hours away (didn’t think it would last).

    For our first anniversary (next May 19) we’ll be in Florida, celebrating my husband’s sister’s wedding on May 17. So, we’ll just eat a huge piece of her cake to celebrate ours :)

  5. wealthy_1 on November 7th, 2007 6:20 am

    I love cake…and cookies and anything sweet! You and your husband are so inspiring.

    I’ve tagged you for a meme. It’s called Crazy Eights!

    Hope the packing is going smoothly.

  6. FourPillars on November 7th, 2007 7:48 pm

    I have to admit I’ve never heard of this tradition.

    While I was reading your post I was thinking that you guys are completely nuts…however after finding out the cake was only $40, I think you made the right choice if it made you happy.


  7. Melissa on November 8th, 2007 1:59 pm

    @Libby – Welcome! Yes, it was really good cake. It lasted us a while, too. We just finished it up last night. Thanks for commenting!

    @Kacie – Congrats on being a newlywed! I have friends who did a long distance marriage and they didn’t bring the cake home either. I’m sure your plan will suffice for this anniversary, especially since it is an actual wedding cake.

    @wealthy_1 – Thank you! That is so kind of you to say! Hehe, I’ll get to work on the meme soon. It seems there are a lot of memes going on right now. :-)

    @Mike – Your comment made me laugh. Weddings have so many superstitions and traditions surrounding them that it is hard to keep track. I only followed a few of them. I think this tradition was more of an excuse for us to buy a really good cake. :-)

  8. Carnival of Money Stories - International Phone Dictionary Day Edition | beingfrugal.net on November 13th, 2007 3:46 am

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  9. MoneyChangesThings on November 13th, 2007 8:31 am

    An indulgent cake is a lot cheaper than a dinner out, so each indulgence needs to be looked at in context. I call this contextual luxury. For example, I have a heated mattress pad. It sounds incredibly luxurious, but it’s actually a good investment since it helps maintain comfort – we’ve lowered our thermostat to 63 degrees!
    PS take pictures of these celebratory luxuries, to enjoy the memory better. “Interest” on your iinvestment!

  10. Carnival of Money Stories #34 - International Phone Dictionary Day « Carnival of Money Stories - Read About Personal Finance on November 14th, 2007 1:04 pm

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  11. Melissa on November 15th, 2007 10:20 am

    @MoneyChangesThings – That is a great way to look at it. Contextual Luxury – I love it! You are right though, sometimes things viewed as luxuries are actually the cheaper way to go when viewed in context.

  12. Gary Diamond(new comment) on July 1st, 2008 12:56 am

    I would have to agree with MonetChangesThings comment. Its amazing how certain things that are important are regarded as luxuries at a wedding.


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