Making Plans and Achieving Goals

You Don’t Have To Be Frugal To Be Good With Money

You Don’t Have To Be Frugal To Be Good With Money

A good diet and a good budget are similar.  In order to be in good financial or physical health, you need to budget your dollars/calories.  Another hallmark of both is you have to have some room for fun.  There has to be room for pizza and ice cream while cutting fat.  Just as you need room for fun gadgets and vacations while saving for your goals.  Some may disagree but I say you don’t have to be frugal to be good with money.  At least not all the time 😉

We set aside roughly 5% of our take-home pay for fun stuff.  Theresa likes to spend her portion little by little on clothes, craft projects, and cute baby outfits.  I like to spend nothing for months or years and then buy something big.  Below are the three most totally un-frugal, stupid expensive things that I am so glad we bought.

#1 Home Gym

If anybody has spent much time here you had to know this was going to be numero uno.  We have a totally bad ass gym out in the garage that gets used almost daily.  A home gym can be a totally frugal purchase and cost saving if you have an expensive gym membership.  The average gym membership is $41 so over a year two people will spend $984.

You can 100% get yourself a nice gym setup for under a thousand bucks and after 1 year you are making money.  I mean you can get a perfectly decent bar and plates brand new for $350 and a totally useable rack and bench for $300 more.  All in cost, with shipping, $750.

The thing is our gym didn’t cost $750, or $1000, or $2000, or $3000 or $4000 but instead cost $5,096!  “Holy Shit, are you kidding me?!  And I’m supposed to take financial advice from you?!”


So I can’t really justify this purchase or really any of these purchase with actual cold hard math.  They wouldn’t be “stupid” expensive things if they were really sound investments so allow me to go down a more abstract road.

I love working out it.  I have what I would call a healthy addiction to it (addicts always say that) and I wanted some world class equipment.  Before Rogue came along world-class equipment would have meant spending almost 10 times as much for Eleiko.  See $1800 barbell here.

This is something I will use for as long as my body will allow me to.  I am excited about having this equipment in my garage when I’m 70 telling my grandkids about it and helping them perfect their squat.  If I had got the cheap equipment it would never have lasted 30+ years with daily use.

Speaking of being old, almost everything I bought from Rogue came with a lifetime guarantee.  Will I be able to get a new bar in 40 years when mine breaks?  I don’t know but so far there customer service has been beyond fantastic on anything I have come to them about.

#2 MacBook Pro

Three years ago our laptop PC was dying the typical slow painful death I have come to know.  Battery life had faded away to almost nothing, boot up time feet like hours, mouse/keyboard lag and random freezing.  I’ve had 3 windows PC’s (dell, Compaq, and Sony) and they all went down the same road around year 3 to 4.

In 2014 I decided I was going to see what all the hype was about with these apple computers.  I mean they must be awesome and how expensive could they be?  At the time a top of the line dell cost about $1500 with other models around $500-600.  The Chromebook was just getting popular and could be had for around $200.  But a 15″ MacBook Pro with 512GB SSD and 2.5GHz processor came in at a cool $2,686.43 after taxes.  I could have bought 10 Chromebooks, given three away and still had one for every day of the week.  We could have bought a top of the line Dell and invested $1000 towards retirement.  But we bought the Mac and I’m glad we did.


We wanted to see what all the hype was about.  I have heard so many people raving about the speed, operating system, and longevity.  I figured that even if it was half true it would be worth it.  Also, in 2014 Windows wasn’t doing free upgrades.  If you got a computer with Vista 🙁 you were pretty much stuck with it unless you paid $200 for the newest version.  Apple was doing free OS upgrades to all their computers as soon as they came out.

Oh yeah and the thing is gorgeous and is a dream to type on.  Compared to the clunky 10lb plastic brick we were retiring this thing felt like a new Lexus compared to a 1976 Chevy Custom Deluxe.

The best part is after three years of almost daily use it still works as good as day one.  Battery life is still around 8 hours, boots up lightening fast, zero lag and not one issue to date.  Honestly, this thing has barely even hiccupped in the last three years.  Alt Ctrl Dlt is common practice on a PC and I don’t even know the equivalent on this one.

#3 Sony A6300 Digital Camera

It is 2017, who the hell needs a digital camera anymore?  Our phones have 16mp senors, take video in 4k and fit in your pocket. Only professionals need cameras.  We thought about it and talked about it for about a year before we pulled the trigger and bought one.  Total cost, for the camera body, kit lens and accessories was $1323.16 in June 2016.

***Side Note – I remember going out to parties and bars in college and girls legit had their ID, credit card and digital cameras with them.  It is funny to think about someone whipping out a legit camera and handing it to the bartender to take a picture but it was common practice 10 years ago.  Ahhhh memories.***

Brooke Loves To Race


Our phones do take fantastic pictures and we use them all the time but it is nothing compared to an actual camera.  There is a reason why the camera costs as much as your phone yet does only one thing.  The big motivator was the fact that we had our first child on the way.  We agreed we would rather have the camera forever and would not pay for any of the traditional baby photoshoots.

The camera is also fantastic for taking action shots.

You Don’t Have To Be Frugal

So in total, we spent $9,105.59 on gym equipment, a laptop, and a camera.  A frugal person would have spent a couple hundred on used gym equipment, bought a cheap Chromebook and realized their phone takes good enough photos.  They would have invested the remaining $8,500.  In 40 years at 8% interest, they would have $184,658.  Sadly, that one single investment would give you 10 times what most 60 year olds have in retirement.  So how again is okay to not be frugal?

It is okay not to be frugal if you have already met your savings goal.  I 100% believe that you need money set aside in your budget to blow.  How you blow that money is completely up to you but don’t even give yourself the option to save it.  Make it earmarked for spending on fun stuff right now.

I love the “future me” more than anyone but “present me” needs to have some fun too.  The financial community is especially vulnerable to becoming fixated on future goals.  We become almost unwilling to spend money on anything but the necessities because we frame everything around what the “future you” will miss out on.  Psychologist refer to this as being hyper myopic.  So let us be responsible with our saving and nonjudgemental of our planned spending.  “Present you” needs to have some fun.


So, what is your stance on being frugal?  Is it a requirement all the time to be good with money?  Have you ever bought something that was crazy expensive but you love it anyway?


4 thoughts on “You Don’t Have To Be Frugal To Be Good With Money”

  • It’s all about priorities. We spend a decent chunk of our budget on travel and vacation. Even then we wind up moving money from other categories so we can spend even more without blowing up the budget. That’s because it is more important to us than certain other items.

    If the total budget spend is within reason and aligned with your goals, then sure – go ahead and splurge in areas that are important to you!

    Just don’t let the splurges throw off your bottom line.

    BTW, we generally purchase Apple items refurbished to save 15%. We’ve NEVER had an issue with doing that. The refurbished items come with the same 1-year warranty as brand-new items too.
    Brad – recently posted…6 Important Lessons For Starting a Business You Need To KnowMy Profile

    • I agree. Don’t be afraid to spend money on things that bring you happiness. It is okay to spend a lot of money on something that really makes you happy if it also fits in the big picture savings goals.

      Thanks for the tip on the apple stuff. The computer is the only thing apple we ever bought but when it comes replacement time I will look at a refurb.

  • Hey Grant – #1 I love the site re-design.

    I struggle with this quite a bit. Personal finance is just that, it’s personal. I like going to the gym on Saturday morning to play basketball with my friends. It’s $300 a year for a membership. Sure, that might get me to retirement or financial independence 1 month earlier, but that’s really not what I’m going for.
    Erik recently posted…What You Can Expect from The Mastermind WithinMy Profile

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