Much Poorer But Also Much Richer Too

Over the last several days I’ve spent a lot of money.  First, I splurged on a 50 minute massage for $67 dollars that came from $260 in poker winnings the other night.  Does the $67 dollars count as “real money” since I didn’t have the money before the game?  Yes, because I could have easily lost $260 as well.  Saving any winnings from poker is a very empty feeling.  Instead, I like to spend it on something rewarding since the excitement of taking down a hand lasts about a nanosecond.

Second, I went on a double date with a client and his wife at this new French American restaurant and picked up the $230 bill.  The place definitely wasn’t cheap, what with the oysters, wine, cheese plates, bouillabaisse, and 24 layer crepes.  However, it was a good time and great for relationship building.  As he is officially a client, there was no hesitation to pay unlike my outing with the real estate agent the other week.

Finally, after two months of waiting and mingling, I’m now officially a member of this cozy old school tennis club.  I handed over my credit card to the member rep and watched her swipe it for a cool $10,000.  Curiously, I didn’t blink an eye because I was so excited to finally be apart of the family.  The process overall has taken 2 months!  There’s something about going to a place where everybody knows your name.  The club feels like one big family.


In total, I spent $10,297 in the past three days with no regrets.  It’s quite strange, because I realize $10,297 is a lot of money.  I really do.  Yet, there is not one ounce of “buyer’s remorse”, because I haven’t really bought any “thing.”  Instead, I spent money on experiences, which are well worth it.   I’m super excited about meeting all the members of the club especially.  I’ve already met around 55 members through weekly Saturday morning doubles sessions and there are several hundred more to go.

Maybe I’ll find a new best buddy.  Maybe I’ll discover a long lost friend.  Or maybe I’ll play a plenty and get in the best shape of my life.  Aren’t those things priceless? To me they are.  Perfect Saturdays now include playing a couple hours of tennis starting at 9am, stretching and hitting the sauna after, and then getting brunch at the dining area upstairs.  At Princeton, you have what are known as “eating clubs” where people socialize.  This place feels the same way where members just hang out after a match and catch up on life.

Time and time again, I realize that spending money on experiences far surpasses spending money on things.  I could have used the $10,297 to buy 1/5th of a new $50,000 Audi Q5 3.0 liter SUV, but rather, I’ll just keep ~$5,000 Moose for another year and hope nothing breaks.  The left over money after you’ve established your retirement framework is meant to be spent.  I say go have fun and live a little!

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Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. says


    At first, I thought you were nuts to pay $10K for that club membership. But then I turned the table around. I have a $5000 tandem and a $4000 tandem: one’s a racing tandem, and the other can be taken apart, fitting into suitcases for touring. If you enjoy the tennis as much as my wife and I enjoy the tandems, then you’ll have made one of the best investments of your life.

  2. Money Beagle says

    That’s cool that you were able to do that and hopefully have something for a long time that you’ll get to enjoy. I fret about being able to make a $50 luxury purchase these days, so to have the kind of means to be able to plop down $10k without blinking an eye is definitely good for your ability to save and be able to splurge!

      • says

        My wife and I have massages every week Sam. They cost about $50 U.S. each, but we find that it’s great for our health, so we do it. A friend of mine kindly added up our annual massage costs for us….but I’ve conveniently forgotten that very disturbing figure.

  3. says

    I’m convinced that golf/tennis groups like these are $1,000 a year for the sport, and $9,000 for the networking. As long as you’re active in the community, I can see how it would definitely pay off.

  4. says

    Sam, I totally agree about happily spending money on experiences, that is what life is about.

    I love that I was almost compared to President Obama! I do feel our decisions carry almost equal weight. :)

    Enjoy your membership, I bet it will pay off for you!

    Thanks for the link.

  5. says

    I’m assuming the $10K is an annual membership. Will they give you a break the second year on your renewal?! Ouch. I’m all for experiences, but I personally can’t ever see myself spending so much on a club membership. However, maybe through your mingling you can conjure up a couple of new clients. ;)

    • says

      Nope, one time fee, and then monthly dues are about $150/month. Not that bad now right? Actually, I’ve already gotten to know 4 clients I did not know since the 2 month process began. And, one of my recommenders is a client now. It’s funny though, b/c I’m just loving the social/tennis aspect. And if I get to meet clients, great! However, it’s really just the lifestyle I enjoy so much.

    • says

      Not yet. Was just educating myself on all the things I need to buy. Seems like it will be a $2,000 splurge for the tv, blueray wifi, receiver, and new hdmi cable box!

      Maybe this summer. Should probably spread around the the expenses as my existing system still works fine and is only 5.5 yrs old. Cost like $2,500 or so back then! At least I still have solid speakers and don’t need to buy new ones.

  6. says

    Just curious, can you resell the membership sometime in the future? Is there profit potential? I think it may be worth it anyway just for the networking. When it is all said and done, memories and experiences are the most important!

    • says

      Unfortunately, there’s no equity and reselling of the Membership unlike some golf clubs, which are also multiple times more expensive ie $50-300k!

      If I stay a member for the next 120 month, it definitely ain’t so bad after amortization!

  7. says

    Wow, that’s a lot of money to drop in 3 days. ;)
    I think the tennis club is a great investment in fitness and to further your network. I’m sure you’ll keep us updated. Great move!

  8. says

    In my next lifetime I would pay the $10K and join the exclusive club. I say this because I don’t have the money now to splurge on luxuries but when the day comes I just might. Business is all about networking and getting out playing tennis at 9AM on Saturday morning is all about networking and having a great time all wrapped up into one.

  9. says

    Me too, Sam. I didn’t go all out $10,000 crazy, but I did spent a bit of money in nightclubs this past weekend. I guess that I’ll also say that I was paying for experiences.

    • says

      BTW, I don’t think that I’d spend $10,000 for a golf membership, but I have spent thousands on a wholesale club membership before. Furthermore, I am now thinking about joining a cycling club that visits a different country every year, cycles about 125 miles across the country, and thinks nothing about the costs. I think something like this includes networking, exercise, traveling, and sightseeing, and would be well worth $10,000 a year.

  10. says

    I’m sure your membership will be well worth it, especially if you actually look forward to going there.

    But I gotta ask… once you pay the credit card bill, you will still want the Q5, especially when you see them on the streets and all those ML350s at the club parking lot right?

    • says

      Donno… ML350s are for soccer moms, so that definitely won’t spur me to buy anything! lol.

      It really is the thrill of potentially buying a nice car the excites me more than buying it. I recognize that, so I harness that thrill every time I go to the dealer. I’ve probably stopped by 50+ times to various dealers in the past 3 years b/c it’s 1) on the way home, and 2) it’s so fun!

      $10,000 is nothing in context of a $50,000, which is funny ain’t it?

      • says

        I notice that the soccer moms are upgrading to the GL550s! But anyway, have fun “toying” with the car salesmen’s emotions every time you go to the dealership. :)

  11. says

    I cringe at spending on frivolous or material things (OK, my wife spending on those things), but I never think twice about a great life experience. We were just skiing this weekend in Lake Placid and we probably spent close to $1K between the equipment this season, rentals, travel, etc. But I wouldn’t trade it. Seeing my 6yo whipping down the mountain killin’ it on skis was priceless. He loves it. I wish my parents had the money when I was younger to do stuff like this. We have the money, and love sharing experiences like this with the little guys. Can’t wait to get the 4yo out there next year!

  12. Charlie says

    Wow 10k is a lot. But it sounds like it’s something you love a lot and you can continue to benefit from it in multiple ways while getting great exercise so that’s really cool. I’m not disciplined enough to spend a lot of money on a club membership so I do my best to make the best use of the great outdoors and put my big spending towards travel. Speaking of travel I need to start planning my next vacation.

    • says

      I LOVE the great outdoors. That’s a key reason why I live in SF and can never go back to the East Coast. I can’t imagine being freezing for 4 months of the year! Plan your next vacay and enjoy!

  13. says

    One of the very first posts I wrote on my blog involved how spending more was my best choice for 2010.

    I decided to join a very nice golf club in my city. I love to play golf, and I love to meet new and interesting people. It has been an awesome move for me so far. My golf game is improving, and I am meeting the type of people I hoped I would.

    Since I was able to score a sweet deal for a “junior membership”, my up front fee was only $1,000. It costs my around $500 per month though, including the food and beverage minimums.

    It’s worth every penny to me. I love being out there.

    It is like you said, once you have put money away for your future, you might as well spend some after that on things (or preferably experiences) you will really enjoy.

    • says

      Nice! I’ve always wanted to join a golf club…. I LOVE golf and 3 hour rounds! I’ve considered joined one out here, but I also have allergies and love tennis too much. There’s only so much I can do!

      If you can afford it at $500/month, and are already saving/investing for retirement, go for it!

      I’m a 10-11 handi, what about you?

      • says

        That’s what I say, as long as I have money set aside for the future, might as well try to enjoy the present a little bit too.

        I am about a 4 handicap currently. Haven’t played much for the past 3 years, until this summer when I joined the club. Hope to get down around scratch next year!

        There are also tennis courts and 3 swimming pools at the club. My wife and I are planning on playing some tennis once it warms up.

  14. says

    I think it’s a huge achievement to be in a financial position to be able to spend $10K on something that you’ve wanted for a very long time. I’m curious, have you met any big spenders that can’t really afford the membership but wanted the lifestyle? My next door neighbors were like that. They have a membership to the country club but literally took the equity out of their house every 2 years to finance that lifestyle.

    Most of the sports I enjoy don’t require a club to enjoy them. Here in the berkshires, people are in super duper shape, so the hard part is just keeping up with them on the trials.

    • says

      So far, I think all I’ve met is the opposite. People at the club who have more money than they know what to do with…. like they make $10,000 a DAY, if not $20,000 a day at their jobs. I’m serious. The one guy who said he was looking at buying a $10 million house for example, and he’s 38 years old. There’s much more money out there than we can imagine!

  15. says

    Sam, your talk of this tennis club has the wheels in my brain turning. I wonder if it would make sense to find a club here in Utah like that just to get around people who have the kind of money I’m looking to achieve. The people at the tennis club seem pretty classy to me. And great job on beating the high school kid!

  16. says

    At first, I was like, “Whoa! $10K on a tennis club”. But then I read the comments about it being a network opportunity. Which totally changed my perspective. Depending what type of business you have, a person could gain SOLID clients that would potentially bring in X times that amount you paid for the membership. So, depending… its probably not a bad investment. And you get some R & R from a busy world. Well, I don’t know that R & R equates to tennis. But you know what I mean. ;)

    • says

      Cool. And compared to a $50,000 car, $10,000 is chump change! :)

      The client aspect is indeed huge. Could be worth literally millions! But, I think fun, lifestyle, and tennis first and business second.

  17. says

    Even when we buy “things” we’re buying experiences so in the end I think everything comes down to an experience. In the end I think money’s gotta be used to boost our lives to make the fullest use, and sometimes this means saving for the future, and sometimes it means living for the present. As the others have alluded to, this could be great for your business, too.

    P.S. It’s still freezing out here on the East coast. ;)

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