On Our Journey to Financial Independence we have embraced a lot of things and made significant changes to our lifestyles. Frugality is one of these things. We are a VERY frugal family, and for the most part this works great for us. That said, there are a few purchases we’ve made over the years that are actually quite expensive, but that we don’t regret at all.
1. A House
In 2013 we bought a $460,000, 1100sq/ft home in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. At that point in our lives we only had one income coming in and this was a VERY expensive purchase for us. NOw we could have bought a larger house in the suburbs for cheaper, but opted against that for one main reason: we wanted to treat this property as an investment property. We knew that because of its prime location, we could put more money into the home and see a huge profit.
Another thing that worked in our favour was our decision NOT to try and time the housing market. Many of our friends and family warned us against purchasing at the time because of the belief that housing prices were too high and that the market had likely reached its peak. Thankfully for us, this wasn’t the case and in three years the house had appreciated to over $700,000!
Some investments can seem really expensive at the time. But the thing is, these same investments, when viewed through a long-term lens, can actually end up being deals! This is often the case with real estate because of both market appreciation and the ability to add value through renovations.
Before jumping into a purchase like this though, we recommend everyone do a personal analysis to determine whether it would be cheaper in the long run to rent or buy. Our numbers showed that considering all the relevant factors it was cheaper for us to buy, but this might not be the case for you.
2. NBA Game Tickets for Warriors Playoff Games
We love basketball but it's undeniable that NBA tickets are pricey! Now, thanks to our savvy finances, we finally have the financial means to be able to go to these games and it has been a dream come true! While we limit ourselves by only buying tickets for Golden State Warriors playoff games, which typically works out to at least one game a season, we also always make sure we get great seats so we can really enjoy the experience as much as possible! What’s the point of retiring early if you can’t enjoy the freedom you have every once in a while.
Don’t get me wrong, splurging like this is something we don’t do often, but we have no regrets about this one whatsoever because these games bring so much fun into our lives. Though we don’t make any profit, we do gain other, non-financial benefits from spending this money. Mainly we’re able to create great memories as a family and give our daughters experiences that they can enjoy and really get excited about! In my book, that’s definitely worth the price of a ticket!
3. Law School
I really felt that going to law school, especially as a mature student and mom to a 3 and 5 year old, was both an opportunity to invest in myself, and a way to serve as a positive example for my kids. By investing in myself I'm referring not only to the knowledge and satisfaction that I gained in school, but also the increased earning potential we had once I finished.
After graduating we had essentially doubled our family income and I honestly doubt that we would be in the financial situation we are in today (living comfortably abroad, having our housing and utilities paid for, saving 70% of our income, etc.) had we not put in the initial investment of time and money.
On top of that, my going to law school is likely one of the most valuable experiences that we as a family have ever had. We had to really come together as a team to get through it, learning such valuable lessons and really strengthening our commitment and bond with each other.
4. Kids’ Sports
Our daughters participate in competitive basketball and swimming. Participating on these teams require travelling, purchasing pricey equipment, training several times a week, etc. and ultimately ends up being a large investment in both time and money. Despite this, it is something that we 100% do not regret. Sports like these teach kids structure, leadership and teamwork skills, and discipline- all great things for your children to learn.
I should note that sometimes the costs can get out of hand for parents who add further training or coaching on top of what is already being done, especially since this extra time can cost up to $70 or $80/hour. Personally, I think that’s a bit excessive, and we have been lucky enough to find sports clubs that use mostly volunteers and are run with a focus on development rather than increasing business. So while sports are great for kids, make sure you do your research before signing them up so you can find a club, team or organization that works for your family.
5. Insurance: Auto and Health
Insurance may seem expensive, especially if you’ve never had to use it. But it's important to remember what exactly that monthly or annual payment is going towards: the protection of your assets. Think about it- if something significant were to ever happen to you and you weren’t insured, you might very well be financially wiped out, and all the hard work, discipline and determination it took to get where you are would have been for nothing! No one wants to find themselves in that situation, so be prepared and get decent insurance!
6. YouTube Equipment: Camera and Microphone
When we initially started our YouTube Channel, Our Rich Journey, we bought a relatively cheap camera and microphone because we really didn’t realize how involved we would become or how much our channel would blow up. Ultimately we ended up upgrading to a better quality, albeit more expensive, camera and microphone. We anticipate purchasing even more equipment as our channel grows actually, and the eventual goal is to have a studio that we can shoot our videos out of, increasing the quality of our work and growing the channel even more. In this sense the money that we’ve put into purchasing YouTube equipment is an investment towards slowly but surely growing our channel and for us is well worth it.
So there you have it guys, 6 expensive purchases that we are undeniably glad we made! Every item I listed above is something that we don’t regret in any way because it has ultimately improved our lives, either monetarily or by improving the quality of our lives.
It's so easy to become consumed with saving and frugality while engaged in the FIRE lifestyle. But while saving for the future is vital to eventual financial independence, we can’t forget to live our lives in the present. There are some things in life worth spending money on, either as an investment or in order to make your life more enjoyable. As long as you’re aware of this type of spending and budget accordingly, this is totally fine! When you’re on your journey to financial independence it is perfectly alright to spend money and make the occasional big purchase as long as you plan for it. Just remember, budgeting is key!