The 85-Cent Principle

Simple beats cheap almost every time

I recently went to a vending machine to purchase a snack. The Twix bar in slot B-3 was calling my name. It cost eighty-five cents. “Eighty-five cents?” I thought. What an odd price for a vending machine. Usually it’s fifty cents, seventy-five cents, or a dollar. I realized if I bought the Twix I had to carry around fifteen cents in my pocket for the rest of the day. So, I didn’t buy it.

I love Twix. But…

I don’t love walking around with change in my pocket going jingle-jangle-jingle all the way home all day. More than I valued cheap, I valued simple. I wanted to put a dollar in and walk away with my snack. I’m sure whoever priced them thought they were doing us a favor by saving us fifteen cents. They weren’t.

They thought I valued cheap (which I do…but not when it’s a matter of fifteen cents). I actually valued simple. I found myself thinking, “I wish they charged a dollar for this so I wouldn’t have the change.” Think about that. I would have preferred to pay more not to have to deal with carrying the change. This is the same reason people prefer to pay with cards and not cash—to the tune of 12-18 percent.

Here’s the 85 cent rule: Know what people actually value—not what they should. People are more open to learning how to add or grow values they should have, once you start with what they actually value. This is most true when seeking to reach people far from God. When we aim first at “shoulds” we rarely realize that by doing so, those “shoulds” rarely become, “actuallys.” Why? Because of the 85-cent principle.

Think about your church’s ministries and ask 85-cent principle questions about them. “What are we actually asking people to do to engage with this ministry?” You may think doing your Saturday event for young families later in the morning (10am-ish) is more convenient than doing it at 8:30 because young families are always looking tired and would like to sleep in. However, you find by 8:30 they’ve already been up for two hours and by 10:00 it’s soccer game time—so they’ll pass…

Because you charged them 85 cents…so to speak.

The best way to know what might bless people? Know the people.

 

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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