Author Topic: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?  (Read 5307 times)

Jags4186

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Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« on: January 12, 2014, 05:17:29 PM »
I'm really talking about big ticket items here.

A lot of what I see on this board is a lot of "buy and old reliable car", "don't buy a diamond engagement ring", "buy modest house, what you need not something to grow into" etc. etc.  Not saying anything positive or negative, what would you spend  a lot on?

Would you buy an expensive living room set instead of buying cheap ikea or garage sale?  Would you ever be convinced into buying a new car instead of a car with 50k miles on it?  Would you splurge on a Caribbean vacation instead of a few weekends at the beach in the summer?

Just curious what everyones thoughts are, or if the act of not ever buying a big ticket item really brings you the joy that for other people buying these items would cost?

Gray Matter

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 05:44:24 PM »
Caveat:  I'm not very Mustachian yet--just venturing into that area.  But there are some things I have and will spend more money on than is strictly prudent. 

  • My house is more expensive than necessary, because I wanted to live in a very safe neighborhood with good poublic schools within walking distance and within city limits.  And I wanted a house with character.
  • I pay for nice accommodations when we travel--not luxury, but centrally-located and with character.  I want to experience local charm when I travel and will pay a little more for it than going for something more generic.
  • I pay for my pets.  I buy them expensive dog food and often adopt pets with good quality of life but with chronic conditions that need to be managed.
  • I am part-owner of a cabin.  It's a family compound and family is important to me.  We gather there as a family on the holidays.

tariskat

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 06:34:08 PM »
I pay for travel by airplane, and fancy pants hotels if I'm traveling with my mother.  That is, flights overseas ($1300 or so to Europe last time I went) or cross country in the USA for vacation, and nicer hotels for traveling with my mom.  With friends or traveling alone, though, I do hostels or AirBnB.  I like using HotWire for grabbing nicer hotels for less cost.

I also pay for tattoos - not a Kat von D expensive, but a thoroughly frivolous purchase none the less.

tracipam

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 07:54:26 PM »

I think it's a matter of spending to your priorities.  Shiny furniture and cars are just not that important to me, so I don't worry about paying extra for them.  As long as they work I'm fine with them.  (Still using my graduate student furniture AND car, actually).  Another one I don't care about is shiny top-of-the-line cooking utensils (pots, pans, kitchen-aid mixers, etc.).  It always horrifies my guests that my kitchen-ware consists of 3 plates, $1 wal-mart silverware, and that I do most of my cooking with a single, very battered fry pan.  My grandmother just sent me money at Christmas because she was horrified by the report she heard from my aunt about the state of my kitchen.  I also do a lot of my clothes shopping at thrift stores, and spend the weekends in ragged old jeans that are very old and about to fall apart. 

However.

Vacations are important to me, I definitely pay for those.  Several flights a year to visit family and/or go on fancy-pants cruises (as in, European river cruises, Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises, etc.).  We travel fairly efficiently--the cheap rooms on the cruise ship, no extras (like wine) on board, etc., but I definitely am willing to pay the money to go!  I consider that money well spent, too. :-)

When I'm out with my friends, costs are not something I worry about--eating out, drinking, etc.  It doesn't happen very often that I go out at all, but when I do I don't stress about it.  (Granted, my friends are fairly cheap, so even "going out" is <$50, but still. )

Having a house (instead of living in an apartment) is important to me--I hate sharing walls with strangers.  So far I have a 100% success rate of buying a house in new cities that I move into (2 for 2!).  I don't even much care that I'll only be in cities for a year or so.  I mitigate that by buying starter homes in nice yuppie neighborhoods which are easy to rent/sell, and have never lived in a high COL city (usually the mortgage is cheaper than renting) but the fact remains that I'm buying them because I want to live in them, not primarily because they're intended to be rental properties. 

I also pay for a gym membership, because I like going to gym classes with other people and teachers... and sitting in the hot tub.  :-)  In fact, I picked the gym I picked BECAUSE it has a hot tub.  Oftentimes I go to the gym only to sit in the hot tub--if I've had a rough day at work, for example.  Ahhh, bliss. 

I also enjoy the act of driving.  In addition to driving to work (gasp!),  every few months I get the yen to go out on a several-hours drive and see the sights.  Sometimes just to get out of the city and see the leaves change in the fall.  Very un-mustachian, I know. :-)  I love it. 

The point is to live a life that you enjoy.  If you genuinely enjoy things, pay for them.  It's just paying for the "status"--something that other people think you should have that you don't care about--that doesn't make sense.  For me, the #1 thing that I value is time, so most of my money goes to my retirement savings.  However, I have a mental balance of what things I value and where they fall in importance on my mental scale.  Top of my list is my family/friends, travel/experiences,  and time.  I balance my priorities and spending according.  For me, it just so happens that retirement (time) happens to be right up there in the top 3. 

I have a friend that's done the same mental estimation and came to the conclusion that she likes her job, doesn't really want to retire early, and therefore places a higher priority on "things"--buying a new kitchen, new furniture, new cars, paying for childcare, etc.  That's her choice--and it's a good one for her!  As long as it's a conscious choice and you're not going into debt, more power to you! 

J

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 10:28:11 PM »
I'm really talking about big ticket items here.

A lot of what I see on this board is a lot of "buy and old reliable car", "don't buy a diamond engagement ring", "buy modest house, what you need not something to grow into" etc. etc.  Not saying anything positive or negative, what would you spend  a lot on?

Would you buy an expensive living room set instead of buying cheap ikea or garage sale?  Would you ever be convinced into buying a new car instead of a car with 50k miles on it?  Would you splurge on a Caribbean vacation instead of a few weekends at the beach in the summer?

Just curious what everyones thoughts are, or if the act of not ever buying a big ticket item really brings you the joy that for other people buying these items would cost?

I'm a geek, and proud of it; thus, the very first thing I'd think of for luxury purchases would be technology.  Even with that in mind, it turns out technology can be a relatively inexpensive habit to splurge on.  I'll spend about $2000 on a laptop every 3 years or so, and I'm extremely satisfied with the result; that includes a warranty policy that guarantees it'll work for that duration.  I'll spend extra for nearly the fastest consumer Internet access I can get (one tier less than max to avoid the extreme 2x or higher premium there), and that's still a fairly small monthly bill.  I have a smartphone, and a cell data plan (though not unlimited, because I've actually measured how much data I consume).  And occasionally I'll splurge on a geeky gadget, a hobbyist tinkering platform, a game, or a Kickstarter pledge for something particularly awesome.

(I'll point out here that there are things I have no interest in splurging on, which could significantly increase that expense; I don't need a 50in TV when I can have a high-res computer monitor closer to me, nor do I purchase tons of the latest games, and I especially don't need to buy new desktop-class high-end gaming hardware every year.)

Despite all of that technology I indulge in, my total technology spending (counting regular monthly bills) is less than $2k per year.  Considering that encompasses my primary source of entertainment and makes it more fun for me to participate in the major source of fulfillment in my life (hacking on geeky things and trying to make the world a better place in the process), that seems pretty reasonable to me.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 10:32:35 PM by J »

Rural

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 04:52:21 AM »
Pets

Land -- this is mostly reflected in transportation expenses to get around the boondocks; land is cheap. Largely offset by low COL.

Jobs we like -- not a direct expense, but a big pay cut from where we were a decade ago, again offset by COL (we're much better off)

We spent a lot more than we had to to build sturdy and green on our house, too, but since we didn't pay for labor, we still only spent $80K. We could have built a standard house for $30K less.

uppy

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 05:51:56 AM »
I second the pets, though we don't spend that much on ours. However it is kind of a frivolous expense, considering the cat just will NOT go out and get a job. We call her the mooch of the household.

Pets

Land -- this is mostly reflected in transportation expenses to get around the boondocks; land is cheap. Largely offset by low COL.

Jobs we like -- not a direct expense, but a big pay cut from where we were a decade ago, again offset by COL (we're much better off)

We spent a lot more than we had to to build sturdy and green on our house, too, but since we didn't pay for labor, we still only spent $80K. We could have built a standard house for $30K less.

Rural: I like the sound of your lifestyle. Where do you live if you don't mind my asking? Would you mind doing my poll? http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/locationcost-of-living-poll/

Rural

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 06:03:19 AM »
I second the pets, though we don't spend that much on ours. However it is kind of a frivolous expense, considering the cat just will NOT go out and get a job. We call her the mooch of the household.

Pets

Land -- this is mostly reflected in transportation expenses to get around the boondocks; land is cheap. Largely offset by low COL.

Jobs we like -- not a direct expense, but a big pay cut from where we were a decade ago, again offset by COL (we're much better off)

We spent a lot more than we had to to build sturdy and green on our house, too, but since we didn't pay for labor, we still only spent $80K. We could have built a standard house for $30K less.

Rural: I like the sound of your lifestyle. Where do you live if you don't mind my asking? Would you mind doing my poll? http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/locationcost-of-living-poll/

Hi, jrez. We're in the Southeast, but I'm not comfortable being more specific. I'll have a look at the poll.

uppy

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 07:14:20 AM »
I second the pets, though we don't spend that much on ours. However it is kind of a frivolous expense, considering the cat just will NOT go out and get a job. We call her the mooch of the household.

Pets

Land -- this is mostly reflected in transportation expenses to get around the boondocks; land is cheap. Largely offset by low COL.

Jobs we like -- not a direct expense, but a big pay cut from where we were a decade ago, again offset by COL (we're much better off)

We spent a lot more than we had to to build sturdy and green on our house, too, but since we didn't pay for labor, we still only spent $80K. We could have built a standard house for $30K less.

Rural: I like the sound of your lifestyle. Where do you live if you don't mind my asking? Would you mind doing my poll? http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/locationcost-of-living-poll/

Hi, jrez. We're in the Southeast, but I'm not comfortable being more specific. I'll have a look at the poll.

Ok -- I guess you can never be too careful on the Internest.

Rural

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 07:36:27 AM »
I second the pets, though we don't spend that much on ours. However it is kind of a frivolous expense, considering the cat just will NOT go out and get a job. We call her the mooch of the household.

Pets

Land -- this is mostly reflected in transportation expenses to get around the boondocks; land is cheap. Largely offset by low COL.

Jobs we like -- not a direct expense, but a big pay cut from where we were a decade ago, again offset by COL (we're much better off)

We spent a lot more than we had to to build sturdy and green on our house, too, but since we didn't pay for labor, we still only spent $80K. We could have built a standard house for $30K less.

Rural: I like the sound of your lifestyle. Where do you live if you don't mind my asking? Would you mind doing my poll? http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/locationcost-of-living-poll/

Hi, jrez. We're in the Southeast, but I'm not comfortable being more specific. I'll have a look at the poll.

Ok -- I guess you can never be too careful on the Internest.

Part of it is a difference you'll notice if you ever move to the country. We're not anonymous here, in any sense. If I told you fairly loosely where I live, say narrowed to a 20- or 30-mile radius, then pretty much anyone who wanted to could come to the area, ask around at the gas stations for the underground house on the hill, and have directions to the house in a couple of hours. Not because of any ill-will; the opposite in fact; they would think they were being friendly and helpful, and everyone knows where everyone lives because there aren't that many of us. But it means I'm a bit careful with specifics, because once they're out there, well, you can't unring any bells online.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 08:12:09 AM »
keeping in mind that I am a very novice Mustachian...

the only thing that came to mind for me was my car. I bought it new in 2012 after saying I would NEVER, EVER buy a new car, new cars are for suckers, blah blah blah. that being said, my justifications for it were:

1. I had just finished grad school and gotten my first job, was driving a 17-year-old car that made weird noises and hemorrhaged oil, and had to move 1000+ miles for said job. I loved my old car but I was just not sure it could make the trip.

2. I bought a Nissan Versa hatchback so it's not like it was an expensive or impractical new car.

3. I put a decent ($9k) down payment on it and got a 36 month 0% loan. I hate having car debt but at least 3 years isn't a horribly long time and it's 0%.

4. (I hope this doesn't sound too sexist, but it's just based on my own personal intimidation by/lack of familiarity with anything with an internal combustion engine... something I'm working on!) I was in a faraway state without my dad or boyfriend to help with car shopping, had never shopped for a car before, and I just didn't want to have to deal with having a mechanic check out used cars or worrying about reliability. I had been driving a scary unreliable car for 7 years, I was ready to have something less stressful :) I would do it again in a heartbeat, and hopefully I drive this car into the ground!

I guess the only other "big ticket" item I am willing to pay for and not think twice about is flights to see my family. pretty much my whole family lives in the same place which is 700 miles from me, I'm pretty close with them and it's important to me to visit a couple times a year. sometimes we drive, though, and they come visit us once a year too.

we would be willing to spend a lot of money on our dog too, but thankfully he is pretty cheap so far despite being 10 :) (and he would probably LOVE to go out and catch his own food too if we'd just let him...)

Jags4186

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 11:46:10 AM »
For me its definitely travel.  I usually go away 2x a year...1 "explorer trip" (some place in europe) and 1 "relax trip" (island/mexico).

Not that I go crazy...generally the relax trip costs about $1500 for 7 nights (always try to go all inclusive, but that gets old) and the explorer trip costs about $2500.  I do my best to use points to get flights for free but its not always worth it to spend points on these flights if the redemption value is crummy.

lackofstache

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 12:31:11 PM »
Children. Not in the sense I buy them everything they want, but rather the fact that we've sacrificed one income for the last 5 years and will continue to only have 1 1/2 incomes over the next 3ish years. Having a parent at home with our children prior to kindergarten was one thing that we decided was worth it. It probably means public schools instead of private, it absolutely means later retirement/FI, but we're okay with that.

Michread

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Re: Where do you draw the line? What do you spend money on?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 01:56:41 PM »
Sure, we've spent a lot of money over the 23 years of our marriage.

$30,000 on our yard (pool, fence, landscaping, etc); we thought this was more important than moving up to a bigger home

$10,000 new camper + new SUV to pull it (family vacations with our little boys was precious); now both sold

Ethan Allan furniture for 1/3 of our home (all of it is still in GREAT condition, unlike cheaper pieces we bought); this was when EA was still made in the USA!

These were items we could afford that were important to our family. I'm GLAD we spent that money and enjoyed those precious moments raising our boys to the young men they are now.

Our current largest monthly expense is college tuition (which we gladly pay)!

« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 02:00:35 PM by Michread »