Money at 30: The Spiteful Spending Paradox
angry cartoon figure staring at a computer screen

Money at 30: The Spiteful Spending Paradox

No one likes to be scorned. Thus, when we feel we’re being wronged, it’s natural to not only want to stand up for ourselves but also stump for what we feel is right. Incidentally the same things can happen in finance, leading to what I’ve dedided to dub “spiteful spending.”

So what is spiteful spending, you ask? In my mind, this action occurs when you, as a frugal person, encounter an item or service you deem to be offensively overpriced. As a result you fully rule that one out and quickly opt for another, cheaper choice — almost as a way to stick it to those gougers behind the offending options. Seems like a sound idea right? Well, in actuality, this emotional reaction can have its consequences.

A perfect example of this concept actually just happened to me. Right this literal minute, I’m on my way to Washington D.C. for FinCon 2019. This year’s event is being held at the Washington Hilton, where I’ll also be staying. It all sounds quite convenient except for one thing: the hotel charges $52 a night for self-parking! Given how egregious this fee is, my initial response was to scrap our road trip idea and simply fly into D.C. instead. However, when I took the time to run the numbers, it was going to be way more for two people to fly — even before adding in airport parking or transportation from Reagan to the hotel and back. Still, had I let my instinct take over, you can bet I would have spitefully spent the extra money just to avoid the Hilton’s parking price insanity.

Another case that comes to mind involves the famously fragile iPhone cables. As anyone who’s ever shopped for a replacement can tell you, the Apple produced cables start at an absurd $19 and go even higher if you want a longer version. Thus, when it came time to replace my cord, I attempted to give Apple the finger by buying a $5 cable at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The problem is that this cable stopped working not terribly long after I bought it. Sure enough, the backup I purchased had a similar short lifespan. Alas, I probably would have been better off just coughing up the $19 in the first place regardless of whether or not it seemed fair at the time (sidenote: I’ve had great luck with the Amazon Basics 6′ iPhone cable).

In both of these instances, I was or would have been better off taking my time to truly explore the pros and cons of each option before throwing the overpriced baby out with the bath water. Just because something is expensive and may cost more than you expected to or wanted to pay doesn’t mean that it offers no value. Furthermore, in the case of my hotel parking example, the overall plan remained solid even though one element hurt my little thrifty heart.

Being frugal — or attempting to be — means there will certainly be times when sticker shock hits. In these cases, your impulse may be to completely shun that option and take the first cheaper route that comes by. However, just as other emotional decisions can hurt your wallet, so-called spiteful spending can serve to work against your top interest. Instead continue to let your savvy and analytical senses lead the way and help you to make the best financial decision.


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

Bilt and Blade logos on NY skyline

Bilt Announces Partnership with Blade Helicopter Service

Bilt is bringing more perks to its most loyal customers thanks to a new partnership. About the partnership: This week, Bilt Rewards revealed a collaboration with Blade. As part of this partnership, not only will Bilt members earn bonus rewards on Blade bookings but elite members will also enjoy special benefits from the helicopter taxi service. Now, Bilt Platinum elite customers will receive one complimentary Blade flight per year. This...
Ramp logo

Spend Management FinTech Ramp Raises $150 Million

The FinTech startup Ramp has revealed its latest "mega-round." About the round: This week, Ramp announced that it had raised $150 million. The Series D-2 was co-led by Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund. Additionally, new investors Sequoia Capital, Greylock, and 8VC joined existing investors Thrive Capital, General Catalyst, Sands Capital, D1 Capital Partners, Lux Capital, Iconiq Capital, Definition Capital, Contrary Capital, and others in participating in the round. To date,...
man holding a small model house

Lessons From a First-Time Home Buyer: The Worst Parts of Homeownership So Far

As you can probably imagine, making the jump from being a long-time apartment dweller to a first-time homeowner has been drastic. On the whole, the changes have been positive (which is why we chose to buy in the first place). But, of course, there are some downsides too — including some that I didn't really think about ahead of time. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of...

Leave a Reply

The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories:, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...

FedEx Announces Winners of 11th Annual 2023 Small Business Grant Contest

Nearly three months after the entry period ended, FedEx has announced the winners of its 11th annual Small Business Grant Content. This year's event saw more than $300,000 in funds going to a variety of small businesses across the nation. Last month, the company revealed 100 finalists, with that list now being narrowed down to just 10 winners. This year's grand prize winners included KindVR, The Cupcake Collection, Up In...