I recently reserved a rental car for a four day trip in January.
The difference in price between full flexibility / cancel any time and paying fully upfront was more than $200. Put another way, I’d have to pay more than 50% more to keep full flexibility.
I can rationalize until the cows come home about why this flexibility might be valuable to me. Something might change! (The weather, my plans, the number of people I need to drive somewhere…) But the reality is, I’ve already bought the flight and have sunk other costs into this trip, and it’s happening.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to pull the trigger.
The emotional labor of pushing through all of those “what if’s” and just deciding is big. Big enough that I could even put off deciding all the way until January.
In fact, by the time January rolls around, my future self might have forgotten about the $200 wasted. Worse, my today self has an irrational disregard for the well-being of my future self, and is more than happy to have future-Sasha spend 50% more in four months time.
The point, as always, isn’t about the car rental, the odds of bad winter weather, or the fine print.
The point is that for most things, deciding now, and deciding quickly, saves us time and money, and brings with it countless other benefits, cultural and otherwise.
We allow ourselves not to decide by telling ourselves that we’ll know more in the future, and that preserving optionality has real value.
Just as likely, though, is that this is a story we tell ourselves to justify our unwillingness to push through the resistance.
The costs of indecision are big, and they build upon themselves.
Decide today so that you free up your financial and emotional resources for more important things.