Poll

What luxuries do you spend on?

Travel
Food/Drink
Consumer Electronics
Cars/Other Forms of Transport
Clothes/Makeup
Books
Art/Decor
Others
Nothing

Author Topic: What do you splurge on?  (Read 12210 times)

Adventine

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What do you splurge on?
« on: September 20, 2013, 09:03:23 AM »
So a recent series of posts got me thinking. The Mustachian lifestyle isn't meant to deprive yourself of everything that costs money. Instead, a Mustachian seeks to eliminate all mindless and inefficient spending in order to achieve his/her dreams, whatever those dreams may be.

So what luxuries do you splurge on? And more importantly, what expenses have you cut out in order to afford those luxuries?

For me, it's international travel. I've dreamed of traveling the world since I was a kid, and I've been frugal for a long time, but it was only this year that I finally decided it was time to reward myself for all my hard work. I went to Hong Kong and Macau in August, will visit Singapore next month, and plan to backpack through Europe late next year. Of course, there are ways to travel for cheap, but travel can still get pretty damn expensive even you choose budget flights and hostels.

Here's some of what I've been doing for several years:
  • Have always saved at least 50% of salary since I started working in 2009.
  • Refused to own a car and insisted on taking public transport everywhere
  • Refused any kind of debt
  • Have always used a prepaid cellphone. The phone itself I got for free from family.
  • Have worn the same pair of glasses for the past six years
  • Stopped buying books and started borrowing them instead

And here's some of the changes I've made just this year, after decided that I really, really, really wanted that trip to Europe:
  • Got a better paying job that paid 33% more than my previous one. Now I save 66% of my new salary and allocate a fixed amount every month to a special "travel fund" account
  • Started to bring lunch to work every day
  • Chose not to buy any new clothes for the rest of the year
  • Stopped buying skincare products apart from sunscreen
  • Applied for a credit card with travel rewards

And I'm still looking for expenses I can cut. I'm curious to know what trade-offs others have made to achieve their own goals!

rubybeth

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 09:19:36 AM »
I selected "travel" because, while we could just take cheaper, camping style vacations, DH and I really enjoy traveling to new cities. We've been on some great trips in the US and we hope to go to Europe next summer with my mom and sister. In some ways, though, I think we "splurge" on things in almost every category you listed.

Food/Drink - I'd rather eat at one of my favorite restaurants in town when eating out (vs. fast food) and have something healthier and truly delicious that I am unlikely to make at home
Consumer Electronics - We like Apple products and DH has a smartphone (mine free is through work)
Cars/Other Forms of Transport - one of our cars is an older luxury vehicle with low mileage, but we love the heated seats in the winter
Clothes/Makeup - I like both of these, but try to use Pinterest to put together new ideas with stuff I already own and research products to make sure they are awesome and I will use them up
Art/Decor - I like buying art from local artists or from Etsy, and we've worked to replace our crappy furniture with nice pieces we'll use forever
Others - It is completely anti-mustachian, but I really enjoy my diamonds/jewelry collection

And yet, we still save 50% of our income. We live in a basic one-bedroom apartment, both of our cars are older and we don't have to drive much, we live within 1 mile of both of our jobs and the university where my DH is in grad school, grocery costs are pretty low, gym costs are reimbursed by our jobs/insurance, our main hobbies are inexpensive or free, etc.

Spork

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 09:20:33 AM »
My "splurge" isn't really a splurge.  In my case I just live a little less badass than the "normal MMM'er".  As a result, my "FU number" for retirement is a bit higher than most.   But if you're looking for specifics:

* we tend to try to eat low(ish) carb.  This means more $$ on meats.
* we have 4 cars (for 2 drivers).  Yeah.  I know.  Average age of cars: 24 years (and that's with my "new car" that is a 2005 skewing the age up.)
* pets.  When we total up the costs for pets, it feels insane.  But I don't know that I'd want to live without them and I am married to Ellie May Clampett.
* the nest.  We have (in theory) built our retirement home, paying for it up front.  We are living in it, but we're still finishing the upstairs.  In comparison to other areas of the country, it's dirt cheap.   For my area... it's probably slightly above average in cost.

arebelspy

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 09:29:15 AM »
Hey Adventine, I edited the poll to include a "none" option (for those that don't splurge) and to allow people to select more than one choice (for those that splurge on multiple things).  Hope you don't mind.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Rural

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2013, 09:32:54 AM »
Land. We have bought enough around us that we neither see nor hear neighbors from our home, and we never will.

We do hear the nearest neighbor's hounds and roosters, and when we're outside we can hear a road in the distance if the wind is just right, but that's okay.

We also splurged on home construction - spray foam insulation, 2x6 on the few framed exterior walls, both rebar grid and mix-in fiber in the slab, that sort of thing.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 10:18:47 AM by Rural »

limeandpepper

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 09:37:12 AM »
I'm big on travel as well; I also love food.

I don't track my spending/savings, but based on observations on the growth of my net worth, I think I've been saving about 50% of my less-than-average salary for the past few years too. I've never had a car. I also always use prepaid for my cellphone, and I'm not big on gadgets. I don't spend much on my physical appearance either. And, actually, while I enjoy eating out, I've started eating out less recently, because there is a chance that next year I might be cutting back on work, or even take a sabbatical, to travel more. In a way, choosing to earn less, to have more time to call my own, could also be seen as my future major splurge.

hoyahoyasaxa

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 10:21:16 AM »
Not sure what your definition of splurge would be, but genealogy is one of the things we are ok with being "less than frugal" with.  It's our major hobby and we spend money on subscriptions, software, genealogy conferences, and ordering records from state archives and other places.

Adventine

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 11:13:51 AM »
Hey Adventine, I edited the poll to include a "none" option (for those that don't splurge) and to allow people to select more than one choice (for those that splurge on multiple things).  Hope you don't mind.  :)

Hey, thanks! You're right, I didn't consider that some people might want to choose several categories. I can get a little single-minded sometimes :)

But you didn't say what you splurge on!

ace1224

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2013, 11:15:50 AM »
food.  i love food. 

Numbers Man

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 11:19:06 AM »
I splurge on travel, but my wife is the instigator. This year I was in Central America, Chicago (twice), Atlanta, New Orleans and Redondo Beach in California.

Adventine

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 11:21:28 AM »
Not sure what your definition of splurge would be, but genealogy is one of the things we are ok with being "less than frugal" with.  It's our major hobby and we spend money on subscriptions, software, genealogy conferences, and ordering records from state archives and other places.

There are so many posters with varying levels (lengths?) of Mustachianism that one poster's splurge could be a daily expense for another. So let's define a splurge as whatever you think is a splurge. :)

Zoe

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 11:28:02 AM »
Coffee. And food. We purchase coffee from a local coffee roaster and it is the best friggin coffee. I will not buy cheap coffee. We also spend  a very large amount on organic food. We feel that it is worth it and we're okay with that.

I voted books, too, but we purchase them used from a local used book store. I have many that I will re-read over and over again. I do have some I need to donate though.

Fletch

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2013, 11:32:42 AM »
my very nice apartment. also food, so much food.

Jamesqf

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 11:41:28 AM »
I think you need to add several more categories.  Land/housing was already mentioned, but how about recreation/exercise (includes things like bikes not primarily used for commuting, skis, camping gear, travel to places to do recreation...) and pets (though my horse probably falls in both, I spend a good bit on premium dog food, vet bills, and such). 

fiveoclockshadow

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2013, 12:20:35 PM »
This might be a past vs. present kind of thing for me.  I've always been a pretty good saver, but this site and others have made me take a closer look at what I spend on.

Before and now

- Food, I eat out a lot.  I've cut back a little but not nearly as much as would probably be sensible.  Definitely still at "splurge" levels.
- Travel.  Don't travel very often, but when we do really time is more of the consideration than money as we are still working.  With a baby in the house travel opportunities are thin on the ground recently but I expect we will chalk up a fair bit in airfare and the like as opportunities arise.  I also love camping in the SW but live in the mid-Atlantic w/a truck in storage in the SW that racks up insurance and storage costs - very un-mustachian and I'd consider an on going travel expense.  The existence of the truck alone is a "splurge".

Before and hopefully no longer

- Consumer electronics - I like cameras (well lenses especially) and bought more than I needed in the past.  More restrained now and have sold some of the stuff I don't use.  I could sell off a bit more I think.
- Housing - Our house is too big.  But as much as I'd like to there is little sense in downsizing right now.  The downsize will be part of our next relocation instead.

milla

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2013, 12:22:02 PM »
I had kids. Major splurge.

Angelfishtitan

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2013, 12:58:23 PM »
Definitely food and drink, will be travel when FI. For other's birthdays we tend to do a "Hey let us cook a fucking awesome meal for you" where we have seafood or steaks and fancy desserts. We love cooking so it is fun as well as cheaper than going out, though certainly much more expensive than a normal meal. I also love craft beer, especially since one of the stores near me let's you build your own six packs. It is so enjoyable trying new stuff, even if every once in a while you get a horrible beer, but I do need to get back into home brewing. Once again not expensive, but it is hard not to claim buying a drug, no matter how enjoyable, isn't a splurge.

lifejoy

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2013, 01:31:37 PM »
For me, it's gifts. I put that under "Others" as in, "I splurge on others".

I can't resist. I stopped for three months when I was significantly underemployed, and it really had a negative affect on my happiness. So now I'm back at it :) Trying to limit myself, but still enjoy finding special things for people! Does anyone else have this "problem"?

NinetyFour

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2013, 04:44:19 PM »
I splurge on ice hockey.  I spend an average of about $100 per month for equipment, ice time, tournaments, and a little travel.  But it's an investment in my physical and mental health!

Jack

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2013, 06:18:21 PM »
I eat nicer food than necessary (but not organic -- that would really be a splurge).

But my main splurge is cars: the two my wife and I have now are cheap, but interesting, and I'm getting ready to buy a third (a cheap Miata) and start an autocrossing hobby.

A_Rock

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2013, 06:42:15 PM »
I splurge on my dog (Rocky) and my rabbit (Mr. Bunny). Oh and my dog is older now so he isn't so much into toys anymore but my brother has a one year old black lab and I always find myself buying toys for him. And gifts for the nieces and nephews. Clearly for me, making others happy makes me happy so that is what I tend to splurge on.

keith

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2013, 06:49:16 PM »
Musical related pursuits. Going to concerts and buying records (vinyl).

NumberJohnny5

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2013, 07:50:25 PM »
I went to Hong Kong and Macau in August, will visit Singapore next month, and plan to backpack through Europe late next year.

We'll be in Singapore next month too! And Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Well, and Australia too, though that's our home base for the time being. I guess you can tell what I voted for.

Wave if you see a family of four Americans (with a bit of an Australian accent, especially our son) who look completely exhausted and questioning the whole "travel" thing.

Li

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2013, 08:08:12 PM »
Food as in groceries.  We try to save on dining out by preparing great food at home.

Adventine

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2013, 08:20:09 PM »
I went to Hong Kong and Macau in August, will visit Singapore next month, and plan to backpack through Europe late next year.

We'll be in Singapore next month too! And Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Well, and Australia too, though that's our home base for the time being. I guess you can tell what I voted for.

Wave if you see a family of four Americans (with a bit of an Australian accent, especially our son) who look completely exhausted and questioning the whole "travel" thing.

Hey cool! Well, you know what I look like already, so if by any miniscule chance you see me walking around the Gardens by the Bay on an October weekend, feel free to say hi!

dodojojo

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2013, 08:33:23 PM »
I wouldn't say "splurge" but definitely not moustachian for a few things.  It used to be travel but I don't do it very much now due to cost and the introduction of cats in my life.  I do pay premium prices for cat-related items and care.  Five hundred dollars to see a kitty cardiologist?  Sure!  The longest I've been away from them has been 12 days (a quick trip down to Australia) and I pretty much can't bear to be away from them for too long.  If I'm lucky my kitties will live to a very old age which would happened to coincide with my planned FI age.  As the kitties pass, I'll probably take a break from being a pet parent and do some extended travel at that time.  That's the plan anyway.

I have never spent much money on vanity items such as clothes and have never worn makeup.  I do pay $100 for a haircut a couple of times a year.  I know I can improve in this one blind spot, but once you find someone you like--it's really hard to break the relationship.  Is this only a woman thing or do guys go through this too?

I'm a bit of a foodie.  There are plenty of things I can't hope to cook as well.  And the number one joy of traveling is enjoying the local dining scene.  I do try to be frugal and find good value.  My friends can't understand why I have such high standards when it comes to restaurants.  My argument is that it's not just about taking in calories.  I'll spend the dosh, but there must be value--the food has to be terrific.  Eating mediocre food is not only a poor value but an opportunity lost for a good dining experience.  And though it may be that we will have thousands of meals over a lifetime--it's still not a infinite number.

kkbmustang

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2013, 09:04:15 PM »
By far our biggest splurge is private, faith-based school for our children. This is a major hot topic issue around the forum, but we've made this decision and, for now, we are sticking to it. We are seriously contemplating moving to a better school district, but we don't have to from a financial perspective. Although if we don't we will clearly delay FI. We feel like we can make this choice in part because the kids have very generous grandparents who have already funded their college educations (4 year in-state public).

This is complicated because we didn't give these up specifically in exchange for being able to pay tuition, but these are things we have given up as we become more intentional about where our money goes:
Cable
Eating out multiple times per week (now more like twice per month)
Excess clothing
Housekeeper
Travel (we alternate between frugal travel and not frugal travel each year)
No more crazy birthday parties
Downsized my car from luxury Lexus to Prius which also reduces fuel
Downsized husband's car from enormous SUV to smaller SUV (baby steps)
Reduced driving on toll roads
Set A/C to 76 in Texas summers
Eliminated landline
Reduced phone plan but can still do better
Replaced shower fixtures and toilets with low flow and take shorter showers
Shopped insurance and reduced premiums

What we will be doing in the future:
Downsizing our house

blinx7

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2013, 09:33:07 PM »
Tiny mouths -- baby (probably one more later), cats (we even pay "pet rent" in our apartment building, *sigh*), hopefully a dog down the road.

Small but nice apartment, in large part because of first said tiny mouth.  Also, daycare.  Also, lost income from wife working part time now.

Totally worth it.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 09:35:20 PM by blinx7 »

imustachemystash

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2013, 10:00:02 PM »
I splurge on my Vanguard account.

kkbmustang

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2013, 10:00:50 PM »

expatartist

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2013, 10:12:16 PM »
@imustachemystash I'm envious - trying to invest in stocks while living abroad is proving a challenge.

While I travel on a low budget (second class trains, hostels/guesthouses, etc), my income is also relatively low, so my travel budget is about 20% of my monthly income. I never travel for holidays though: it's always for projects which sometimes pay off financially, and sometimes don't. All in all, I generally recoup between 50% and 100% of expenses for a trip. Sometimes it can take years, so I wouldn't recommend it to most ;)

Edited to add:
Other splurge is 'art/decor'. We're slowly renovating our holiday (rental) home, and whenever I find something quirky and functional - like recently, a gigantic fish-shaped padlock and vintage key in Hong Kong for $15 - I'll pick it up to add some character to our place.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 10:15:03 PM by expatartist »

Zikoris

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2013, 10:28:27 AM »
Travel - we have a $7000 soft, $8000 hard(haven't ever hit our absolute max, yay!) annual travel budget. We cover a lot of ground and go on some really crazy trips(our record year was 6 countries in 2012 - France, Florida, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Honduras, and Belize. This year we've been to France, Monaco, and Italy). Not much chance of that changing before retirement, when we switch to ninja style travel.

totoro

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2013, 10:51:52 AM »
Art/décor - event, seasonal and holiday-themed mostly - and the food to go along with it.  I love it. 

Most recently coveting a set of antique turkey-themed dinnerware for 8 on CL and hoping it will still be available when I take a business trip to that town. I've also been collecting seasonally themed paintings. 

I don't spend a crazy amount on this splurge area though because I mostly buy at garage sales, thrift stores and CL.  I really enjoy creating special events/environments for family and friends and the money spent is well worth it.  Can't wait for Christmas - I start decorating November 12th...

kolorado

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2013, 10:57:50 AM »
Cars and Housing for us. We have a 2006 sports car bought new and a 2013 SUV bought new. And we're shopping for a camper. We also have a house that cost 4.75X our single income base salary, but 3.5X the actual with OT salary. Our previous home was only 2X salary but a shoebox. Hubby was increasingly unhappy with that as our family grew to 5 over the 11.5 years we lived there. He doesn't see these things necessarily as luxuries but I sure do. I grew up a lot poorer than he did. ;)
I know I may be on the board where everyone is planning/working to retire very early, and that would be my choice too if it were entirely up to me, but my hubby is the income earner and he likes to go work and doesn't want to retire any earlier than 55. He wants to drive to work in a fun car he enjoys and come home to a spacious and attractive home. We've had a million discussions about this in our 15 years together and he hasn't budged from that position. So with the longer working career in mind, we can afford to splurge on those things since the house size and cars are important to him. We have about 15 years to go if he sticks with 55.
Luckily he's super cool about everything else. We can keep the house at 64* in the winter. We don't have A/C or pay tv. He'll happily eat meatless meals and country cooking. We have basic, cheapo cell phones. He likes camping and family vacations. He's not into fashion or brands or looking stylish. We each get $50 a month to spend on our hobbies or little coffees out and that sort of thing and he's satisfied with that. He changed and washed cloth diapers for our kids without complaint. He'll hang laundry out on the line and use crispy towels. He'll sell something he has to buy something new he wants, etc.
We are a very frugal family. We're not into eating out but may hit Sonic or get Chinese take-away once a month. 75% of our clothes are from the thrift store or yard sales. I buy shoes online off-season and deeply clearanced and keep them for 5-7 years. The kids every two or so. I cook so much from scratch and have a food budget of $300 a month although this year I'm averaging closer to $325. I find ways to get what I want without spending any money. Like clicking away on Swagbucks in the morning while I have my coffee to get Amazon gift cards. Or trading in my credit card rewards points to buy decorating supplies and tools to fix up the house the way I want little by little.
Besides the house payment and car cost(which is 32% of income), we spend $1750 a month on everything else for our family of 5 including homeschooling costs, birthdays and vacations but not including health insurance. Our current savings rate is 31%(although for the entire 2013 year it will be closer to 38% since we recently downgraded 401K allotments) which I am thrilled with at our American median income. We'll hit a net worth of $230K by the end of this year. :)  It's good feeling to be well on the right track, even with luxuries and an average income. :D

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2013, 04:59:51 AM »
Motorcycles and fancy coffee. We have 2 fairly expensive motorcycles. And almost every motorcycle ride ends with a trip to our local coffee shop.

But every sunny weekend we are out there riding! And getting our fancy coffees! :)

chasesfish

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Re: What do you splurge on?
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2013, 06:53:27 AM »
Travel and sporting events