It probably doesn’t pay to buy your prom dress when you are 12 years old. You’re not sure of the size, not sure of what styles will be like and not even sure you want to go.
On the other hand, filing your taxes an hour before the deadline is a risk that doesn’t really pay off.
The last minute is an easy habit to fall into. Once you start focusing on crises, it makes it really difficult to find the focus and energy to begin planning ahead. But the last minute can be risky and expensive.
If something is:
- Far off
- Unlikely to happen
- Cheap to fix if it does
- Not sensitive to advance planning
the last minute might be a smart strategy. On the other hand, events that have some combination of:
- Known variables
- High cost later (lower cost now)
lend themselves to the discipline of planning ahead.
If it’s not worth the time to do the calculation, it’s probably not worth waiting for the last minute.