In my tech review videos, I sometimes talk about The Value of Delight. It’s the idea that spending extra money to get an more delightful experience can be ‘worth it’ if it encourages us to do more of the thing we want to do.

I’ve noticed the concept in more areas of life too. For instance, I wrote the first draft of this on my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook with a Pilot V-ball pen. Writing on this notebook is a delightful experience, which encourages me to write more which is a Good Thing. I’m editing the draft on Notion, an organisation / project management app - Notion is such a delight to use that it encourages me to use it more, which encourages my own productivity and creativity which is also a Good Thing.

For the past few months, I’ve also been using Superhuman, an incredible email app that costs a completely absurd £30/month to use. It’s such a delight to use that I’ve replied to twice as many emails as I was doing when using free or cheaper alternatives - again, overall a Good Thing.

I’m more than happy to pay for all these services because of the value of delight. If an app costing $40/year is such a delight to use that it encourages me to use it even 10% more than the free equivalent, that extra 10% will compound massively over the long term. I’d end up getting far more than that $40 of value out of it.

I know plenty of students who get triggered at the thought of spending £24 on Anki, a flashcard app that they’ll be using for their exams for years. They’d blow that same £24 on a ‘night out’ that (a) they’ll forget, and (b) that’ll cause them to be so hungover that they’d skip lectures the following day, in their university degree that costs £9,000/year.

A few years ago, I would think twice before buying apps and books that cost £3-10. I would think ‘ahhh do I really need this’ and ‘I’m sure I can find a free pirated version if I look hard enough’. Later that day I’d blow the same amount of money on a Starbucks or a random takeaway that I really could’ve done without. My stance has now changed completely - I view (useful) apps and books as investments with a potentially huge return, and I think my life has improved as a result.

Basically, if an app is helping me do something productive / useful / fun, and paying for it gives me a more delightful experience that encourages me to use it more, it’s totally worth it.

PS: I’m not advocating spending money on apps/books if you can’t afford it. I’m advocating for prioritising buying useful apps and books over coffee and takeaway :)