Things Totally Worth Splurging Money On

It’s good to be frugal by nature.  You will likely never get into financial trouble as a result.  You will always be able to appreciate things since you’re never buying the best and most expensive stuff.  Sometimes, however, it’s good to splurge.

You’ve already read “‘No Point Making Money If You Don’t Spend Your Money“, and I’m sure many of you agree.  We work so hard every day for our money, and to just hoard all of it in a bank account is such a crying shame.  There is no dearth of ways to make money, so we are actually much more afraid of running out of money than reality.

Time and time again, I see people who’ve been let go find jobs and security again.  I’ve seen people invest their life savings in a project, only to lose it all.  But, they are still alive and finding ways to live fulfilling lives again.

I get a sense we’re now too cautious with our money.  We’ve been permanently scarred by the multiple evaporations of wealth over the past 15 years that we’d rather not spend on some of the most important things that give us happiness and comfort.  Look at wealth indicators now vs. 2008.  It’s taken 3 years, but on average, we’ve all breached our 2007 highs and some of us, by a lot.  This is important since I can’t imagine us going through such a massive downturn like that again, at least for the next 10 years.  In the meantime, don’t be afraid to spend your money on things you cherish, like a $1,000 doggie stroller for your beloved Chow Chow named “Bear”!

THINGS TO  SPLURGE ON THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

* Bed / mattress. You spend a third of your life sleeping.  It makes sense to get the absolute most comfortable, most supportive mattress as you can.  Go top of the line so that you are fully rested and rejuvenated to have a most productive day.  You can get a wonderful queen size mattress for $1,000-$3,000.

* Personal dental care. Buy the absolute best sonic tooth brush you can with all the bells and whistles.  You can’t grow back your teeth or your gums.  Floss and brush at least twice a week!

* Grocery food. Your body is your temple.  If you eat junk, you’re going to start feeling and looking like junk.  Your energy, mood, and outlook all are affected by the food you eat.

* A hot trainer. What’s more important than your health?  Not much!  A hot trainer works you good and teaches you all the right moves to improve your fitness and extend your lifespan.  Meredith has been great to me, and I’ve lost 8 pounds in 2 months!

* Home theater system. A 40″+ LCD/LED TVs and a 5:1 high end surround sound system.  You’ll never want to spend $25 for two going to the movies ever again with a money home theater system.  I spent $2,000 for my sound system and $1,000 for my TV which has paid off in spades since I’ve only gone to the movie theater three times in the past 5 years and have probably seen over 200 movies since.  200 moves X $25 = 5,000!

* Massages. Last year I spent $700 for a year long passage package that consisted of 14 hours.  I basically got two hours free if I bought 12, and it was the best $700 I’ve ever spent in my life.  It was incredible to just book a massage if I was feeling a little sore, tired, or stressed out.  I could also give hours to my friends, clients, or loved ones as well.

* Ski season pass. Tahoe lift tickets cost roughly $80-85 a ticket per day for adults.  With season passes averaging about $500, after 7 trips you’ve paid for your pass already.  So many times, I’ll go up to Tahoe for 4 days and only ski for two days because I don’t want to spend $85 bucks for a full day when all I can do is board for a couple hours.  With a season pass, I can now snowboard for a couple hours a day everyday without thinking about costs.

* Work clothes & shoes. Instead of buying a lot of mediocre quality clothes and shoes, buy only a few items as if you are building a boutique of high quality items.  Go for the most finely woven suit and the finest grain leather for your shoes.  Sure, you may have to pay 2-3X the average price, but the items will last longer, and you’ll have less clutter.

* Prime property. You want to buy property in the most prime of location.  Prices hold up better in a downturn and rise faster in an upturn because there is only a limited supply.  Think about prime property as being at the top of a triangle where there’s a huge base that’s looking to always get in.  During the downturn, the outskirts of San Francisco fell at one point by 30%+, whereas prime property corrected at most by 10% and are resuming their uptrend again.

* A solid college education. The only people who say a prestigious college education isn’t worth it either can’t afford it or can’t get in.  If you get into Harvard, you do whatever you can to attend over Chico State.  You’ll look back on your career and be thankful you did because $43,000 a year is actually chump change in the grand scheme of things.  Besides, many students get grants and don’t pay the full amount.  Don’t let a silly thing like upfront cost deny you the best education possible.  Your life, career, and children will thank you!

* A digital camera. Memories are our treasuries, and we can keep our loot always in the front of our minds with pictures.  You might as well get the fanciest digital camera with the nicest lense(s) money can buy.  What if you missed capturing that moving target crisply because your shutter speed was too slow?  Don’t you want to accurately capture that moment in all its honestly instead of having bleached images due to lack of functionality?

* Vacations. Many of us up until retirement are unfortunately confined to at most 6-8 weeks of vacation a year.  It’s taken me 10+ years to regularly get 6 weeks of paid vacation after only getting 2 weeks when I first started.  Given vacation time is rare, we should spend the most on them.  We shouldn’t skimp by not spending 60 Euros for the all day hop-on-hop-off bus pass to see Rome.  We shouldn’t try and save money by getting an indoor cruise cabin instead of one with a balcony.  I say go on that helicopter tour in Kauai, an spend the money to go swim with the dolphins in the Bahamas.  Get that 28-day dry-aged rib-eye with that vintage pinot noir for two.  We spend 80-90% of the year working.  We should maximize the time when we are not.

* Safety. Let’s say you’re working super late one night and the neighborhood your office is in turns sketchy after 10pm.  Instead of walking several blocks to wait for the bus, call a cab to pick you up!  Although I’ve recently had some issues with my insurance company, it’s worth getting as much coverage as you can afford – ideally, full coverage.  Health insurance, auto insurance, property insurance, personal liability insurance, and an umbrella policy are all recommended.  You never know what will happen and you want peace of mind, especially if you have a family.  Just be vigilant by not getting overcharged.

CONCLUSION

It’s important we identify things that are most important to us and spend accordingly.  For the most part, I always recommend buying less and focusing on quality.  All that stuff you’ve accumulated over the years that you don’t use is because you didn’t buy the nicest alternative.  What’s your list of must splurge things?

Best,

Sam

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.

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Comments

  1. cashflowmantra says

    This is a great list and I couldn’t agree more. I need to get a little more cash for splurging on some of those items. Unfortunately, my trainer looks like Samuel L. Jackson.

  2. Eric J. Nisall says

    There are thing that I can agree and disagree with on this list based on personal preferences. However, the overriding theme is exactly how I feel about spending: if you enjoy it and have the means, go for it–you worked your ass of to earn the money after all so why save it all for a time to enjoy it that may never come. The last paragraph has the most important point to me–focusing on quality.

    To answer the question: food and clothing are my biggest splurges but I also offset the costs by using restaurant.com and local deal sites to get big savings on dining out and shop the outlet stores combined with e-mail coupons for clothes (I could care less about wearing last seasons styles and 99% of the time no one would even know)

  3. David M says

    As other have stated – this is a great list.

    I think the “Grocery Food” item really hits home with me. I used to go to farmer markets and not want to pay more than what I could pay for the item at a food store. However, taste much better, is hopefully healthier and definately taste better – thus I’m more likely to eat at home versus – much more expensive and less healthy restaurant food.

    Regarding vacation – I also agree. I take 6 weeks every year and go pretty low budget – for example $20 hotels in South East Asia. However, I am willing to pay $100 for a buffet lunch at a 5 star hotel and spend $150 a night at an elephant resort.

    • Financial Samurai says

      I no longer want to cheap out on vacation. When I am on vacation, I am living to about the MAX of my income level range vs. only about 30% since I save 70% of my post tax income.

      This is key though, as I’m not living it up more than 100%, just to my max, so no debt involved.

      • David M says

        I hear you.

        However, for me, a real nice hotel – just isn’t that important! Also, for me, staying at small family run hotel is definately a big part of my vacation enjoyment. We love talking to the owners and staff everyday.

        Also, I need to save a lot now as when I retire – I would love to travel full time – for as long as my health will allow.

        Thus, I’m willing to splurge on food and a “unigue” sleeping arrangement but, I do not see value is paying big bucks for a “box hotel” in a big city.

        Now, if I can get luxery for free — I’ll take it — for example we have used points to stay at the intercontinental in Bangkok and to fly first class to asia.

  4. Sustainable PF says

    I’d like to add, especially if you cook at home, a set of quality chef knives. They will last forever. Add some cast iron cookware as well. Treat them right and you’ll make amazing food and never have to replace your hardware.

  5. No Debt MBA says

    Dental care is totally essential and it can be so cheap! Floss is like $1 a box and can last you months.

    I agree with you on college education with the caveat that it an absolute top school is absolutely worth the money but if the best school you can get into is a pricey, middling private college then go to the best state school you can get into instead. Also agree on location.

    Healthy groceries don’t have to cost way more than junk. If you buy produce based on what’s on sale or in season and go easy on the meat it can be pretty cheap. I actually find that processed foods are more expensive for us. Also: beans. So healthy, so cheap.

  6. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog says

    love this list. i think i agree with pretty much all except the ski pass and maybe prime property. i can also live without digital cameras – but certainly enjoy looking at pics that others snap (i.e. my wife) and put them up on facebook for the world to see

  7. Untemplater says

    A high quality electric toothbrush makes a big difference. I didn’t want to pay for one and was having cavities removed each time I went to the dentist. I finally decided to get one my dentist recommends and luckily so far I haven’t had a cavity since!! I don’t splurge on everything in your list myself but I agree with the majority of them esp insurance and safety. -Sydney

  8. Jeff @ Sustainable life blog says

    I’d have to say that this is a great list I’ve gotten most of this stuff done at one point or another – my next thing on this list is probably going to be property or a mattress.
    I’d have to say that splurging on this stuff (as long as you’re not going into debt to do it) is one of the funnest things you can do.

  9. retirebyforty says

    Great list! A good DSLR makes all the differences. My pictures are so much better with a good camera. We need to update our sonicare toothbrushes. Our current sonicare runs out of battery in about a minute.

  10. Srinivas Rao says

    Solid ideas and great list. I just shelled out close to 500 bucks for a new surfboard. But, considering I surf every single day that I can it it was a totally wortwhile investment. I can’t see myself regretting that decision at all.

  11. Car Negotiation Coach says

    A hot trainer is definitely a neccesity….although not so easy to justify once your married like me.

    Oh, and as for a TV, forget everything I told you before about buying a big screen…..I wasn’t even in the right ballpark and am sorely regretting my own recent purchase (well, I do love it, but I now know what I need in another 5 years). An HD projector that makes your entire wall a TV! Talk about making your home a movie theather…..I hadn’t realized how far these things have come along until I saw one at my friends house the other night. Absolutely incredible. We watched the NBA finals and the players were life size in HD!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Lol, OK! I haven’t splurged on my next TV purchase yet, so that’s good to know. Unfortunately, I don’t have a blank, unadorned wall in my humble abode. Hence, gonna have to just do the LED TV route!

      Your wife won’t mind you getting a hot trainer! You can’t help it if she’s hot! That’s discrimation to not choose her anyway.

  12. krantcents says

    Why do we consider these things splurges? If you have the money, these seem like prudent choices. I always bought quality clothes and shoes. They look better and last longer. A splurge would be paying for a $2,500 per day hotel room.

    • Financial Samurai says

      At one point or another, I’ve resisted to splurge in everyone of these categories. Now, it’s all-in and no holding back.

      These are my own, and also what I consider folks not skimp on. Feel free to share your own list!

  13. Arthur Garcia says

    I want to echo the comment about the bed! I cheaped out 2xs and now I have to buy another bed, I should have coughed up the money in the first place – I would have been better off.

  14. Super Frugalette says

    Business class for long flights…

    Five years ago I used my points for upgrades from Baltimore to Shanghai. I was six months pregnant. The proximity to the bathroom, better food, and a more comfortable seat were worth it.

  15. Harri @ TotallyMoney says

    Definitely agree with you on the mattress front. Get your mattress wrong and you could be looking at some rather nasty back injuries in later life, which will end up costing you a fair whack in health care costs. I’d also say with a lot of these things it’s worth shopping around and doing the research. We spent (literally) hours researching TVs and tested out what felt like half the mattresses in London before we made our choices!

  16. 101 Centavos says

    Hard to argue with some of those points.
    Clothes and shoes. Value is value, and well-purchased is better than impulse.
    Hand and power tools. Quality made tools like Stihl and DeWalt will last longer than several iterations of cheap knock-offs.

  17. Little House says

    On brushing and flossing I hope you meant twice a day, not twice a week! You’ll surely loose your teeth that way. I’m not so sure I agree with you on the prestigious college tip; I think it definitely depends on the major and industry a person chooses. However, I agree with prime property when it comes to location. I think buying the fixer upper in a great neighborhood is a better bet than buying a nicer house in a mediocre neighborhood – especially in CA!

  18. chevbird says

    Almost completely agree. If you’re planning on being done with college after 4 years, then by all means take the best school you get in to. But if grad school or beyond interests you, then save some money and go to Chico State for undergrad work. You can go Ivy afterwards.

  19. Banjo Steve says

    While I agree that it’s a good idea to splurge now and then (moderation in all things – including moderation….), I hope that it is implied that one shouldn’t be splurging in a way that stacks up greater credit card debt. The old idea of living within one’s means is still a good thing … right?

    And your list is a fascinating display of the consumer foci of today’s up-and-coming young (business) professionals. While there are lots of very legitimate items there for all (especially flossing and brushing for whatever frequency :) ), there are sooo many items that a mere schoolteacher like me can only imagine having (like that big screen stuff). At one time I’ve had to take on an extra job just to pay for basic groceries (much less all that wonderfully organic stuff).

    Just a reminder that many of us don’t exist in that wonderful zone of high salaries and big business transactions. Sometimes being able to afford just the necessities feel like a luxury.

    But I suspect that much of the splurge list was in good fun, and I did indeed enjoy reading of that which I can indulge, of that which I can’t indulge, and of that which I have no interest indulging.

  20. Money Reasons says

    I agree, I’ll buy a $5 hammer over the expensive $20 ones, but for the things that matter or once in a lifetime events, why not splurge!

    I also like the advice about the camera, this is one of my weak areas.

    In the past, I’ve taken vacation and tried to save money by not buying the expensive shirts or other reminders, or perhaps stayed in a subpar hotel/house. Now I realize that it’s the entire package that matters and if your cheap in one area where that it takes away from the enjoyment of the trip, then it’s spoils everything else.

    Great advice! Don’t splurge on things that are worth something to you! For me, it’s a short list:
    Family (especially my kids)
    Vacation (somewhat related to me kids too)
    Sports (again for the kids)

    Wow, my list is shorter than I even imagined

  21. Darwin's Money says

    You forgot a pool ! LOL, I know, terrible splurge, but we just put one in. The kids are absolutely loving it. I got a message from my wife today at work, “Darling, we’re out by the pool and loving it. We’re thinking of you. Love you! Thanks…”. So, that’s out “vacation” for the next 15 years or so. Plus actual vacations of course. But heck, we had the money and it’s working out great. We splurged.

  22. Mike Hunt says

    How about a good phone with features to make your life easier (like a Blackberry or Iphone)?

    Also a good reliable fast car is a must have in Asia with a long commute and ill enforced traffic laws where it’s every man for himself! My old car was a BMW 525i and the current car is a Honda Accord, every day driving as fast as 115 MPH (190 Km/hr)! Good acceleration and good brakes on a well maintained car is an absolute MUST!

    -Mike

      • Mike Hunt says

        New Honda Accord = $60K USD. New Maserati = $350K USD.

        My company won’t pay for a Maserati, unfortunately.

        If money were no object for the company car I’d go for a BMW M5 ($250K USD) or BMW 730il ($400K USD)

        Can’t wait to come back to the USA and pick up a nice car at a bargain price!

        -Mike

  23. Forest says

    I don’t think fruaglity means you will never buy or experience the best. A genuinely frugal person actually would always buy the best as that makes financial sense, at least when quality is concerned. Objects that are centered around notoriety are a different story.

    I pretty much agree with most of your list. I am paying for lack of dental care now and had to have some of my jaw bone shaved off for a complex crown just a few days ago!

    Not so sure about the property but that’s lifestyle related so more a personal decision and I wouldn’t jump at a college education either but maybe i’ll change my mind one day, who knows….

    Ski pass, absolutely!

    Great post Sam.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Oh yikes! That jaw bone shaving sounds complex!! I hope all goes well mate.

      I guess when I wrote Prime Property, I really meant for those considering buying property. If you want property, better to buy in the best location.

      Cheers

  24. JT says

    Not on your list, but a good trade magazine or newspaper in paper copy is an absolute splurge for me. Even with newspaper and media going 100% digital, I really like getting the WSJ every day to my doorstep. There’s something about being well informed that’s worth every bit of the $10/mo it costs. I’d like to get FT, too, but I live in an area where it comes by mail. :/

  25. Kanwal Sarai - Simply Investing says

    This is a great list!! I agree about the home theater too!

    Too often people get caught up in being extremely frugal and stop enjoying life and the present. Your post is a good reminder to spend money were it counts.

    Also education doesn’t have to end with college. I continue to invest in education, and find that the value I get back is usually 10x more than what I paid for a course.

  26. Get Happy Life says

    As usual, Sam, you motivate me to think and I realize now that it actually makes sense to spend on those things!
    How did you manage to get 6-8 weeks of vacation per year? I only get 2, if I am lucky.

    One last conclusion is that, we still need a lot of money to buy things are worth spending money on.

  27. FMZ says

    I totally agree. A good mattress makes a huge difference. Safety,College education, vacation are my next favorites .

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