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Examples of spending on the things you LOVE?

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I was reading this Reddit thread where people talk about their biggest discretionary expenses and it got me thinking.

It’s so rare to see that kind of honesty, where people talk about what they really enjoy, guilt-free. It’s very different than the finger-waving nagging you see from so many people who tell you what you CAN’T do.

You already know that I take a very different approach: Work hard, automate your financial goals, focus on Big Wins, disproportionate rewards, and spend your surplus on whatever you want! Guilt-free.

If that means paying off your parents’ debt, awesome. If you want to go out for $15 cocktails, I’m all for it. Or just buying the coat you’ve been eyeing for 2 years.

It’s funny that when I first started talking about conscious spending years ago — spending extravagantly on the things you love, and cutting mercilessly on the things you don’t — the responses were VERY mixed. So many internet commandos were used to telling you to cut back on everything, but threw their hands up saying, “That’s RIDICULOUS!” when given examples of $200 jeans or a weekend trip to Vegas.

For a lot of IWT readers, however, it resonated — the idea that as long as I’m hitting my financial goals (ideally automatically), I can take whatever I make and spend it guilt-free and unapologetically.

Oh, I like extremely weird habanero hot sauces that cost $14 each? GIMME 5!

So today, I thought it would be interesting to share our BIGGEST discretionary expense. No guilt. No shame. Just an interesting look into the spending patterns of people who are committed to living rich lives — whatever that means to you.

What’s your BIGGEST discretionary expense? Do you get any flak from the people around you? It’ll be fascinating to see what people say. Share your answer in the comments below.

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  1. New tech gadgets. I usually am able to resell my old stuff for 90-150% of the price I got them for since I like hunting for deals. Everyone still thinks I’m spending way too much even though my earning and saving rates are well above theirs proportionally….

  2. I really enjoy going out to lunch during the workday. I spend $15/day on it. I’m from the midwest, so this is considered fairly extravagant.

  3. my biggest discretionary expense would probably traveling. I love to take weekend trips and long train rides to neighbouring countries but it does take up pretty much all of my extra money. A lot of people tell me I should be saving this money instead of travelling but the whole reason I work hard at my business is fund my travel bug.

    • Me too, travel. My husband and I live in the ghetto and no one understands why we would want to spend so little on our neighborhood (our apartment itself is nice). We take two big international trips/year and can’t imagine being “house poor”

  4. Gaming meetups. I travel between Brussels and London a few times a year for this, and in recent years there was also a yearly trip to Iceland included. People who aren’t gamers think it is pretty crazy, but it fits my budget and most important I enjoy it a lot. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit a few place I’d normally not consider for a vacation by being able to go there with a group of gaming friends, or stay over at their homes.

    • Let me guess… Eve online? 🙂
      Spending on things I love… I think the new gadgets are in the sweet-spot. Even though I still don’t use that much my tablet, I don’t regrett buying it. All my childhood I dreamt of smth. like that. At least now I can buy it whenever I want 🙂

  5. My latest no guilt expenses was $400 headphones for music. Since I spend ~9 hours a day working in office, and I love listening to music while I’m working, so it was completely guilt-free. And headphone amplifier is next on the list which will be even more expensive. But I’m fine with it – I can enjoy them everyday, and it makes me more relaxed and my job less stressful.
    I know this kind of expenses for headphones can sound a bit crazy for someone, and I had funny questions from people who are not “in audio”, like how you can spend So Much for that ??? (it’s almost third of your car value!!! etc), but it’s worth every penny for me.

    • Nice! I had that feeling when I went to buy BOSE headphones. But it was one of my better purchases last year! 🙂

    • Heh. Same here: Audio equipment. When someone asks me recommendations about headphones/speakers/amps, before I even get to answer they already ask how much my equipment cost. And… when I answer to the question they look me like I’m crazy as I spent thousands of euros to my main speakers alone (I have speakers and amps almost in every room). 🙂 But I love it! And I don’t give a ….. what they think. The funny thing is that I think the people who spent 10x more than me on their audio equipment are crazy.

    • Yes, I can relate to it. I did spend on some 200 dollar earphones. There the shure se315. There worth it because of the isolation, high def drivers. People look at me crazy for that, but I dont care I got what I payed for.

  6. Good Bose headphones – for travelling and my daily commute. For both sanity and health, surprising how they have reduced headaches and bad moods.

    More regularly, a particular coffee bean roasted in Melbourne (Kenya Peaberry). Postage costs as much as the beans, but they’re so worth it!

  7. My house. We just moved to a new city where housing is relatively inexpensive. Instead of getting a cheap apartment, we bought a house in a beautiful, walkable neighborhood. I can walk to work, my husband has his own space for a home office, and we are mostly car-free. It has a fireplace for long winter evenings and a deck for long summer afternoons. Best of all, we bought a house in great shape so we can enjoy it now instead of after putting in tons of time and money.

    • Oh yeah, and I get zero flak about our house – because everyone around us says things like “What a smart investment!” and “Doesn’t it feel great to own your own place?” I just laugh at them because they don’t understand the real reasons why we did what we did: to minimize car use, to be able to host our large families, to live in a neighborhood we love, and most of all to splurge on something we really enjoy, which is having an awesome home.

      Ironically I get a lot more flak for my book-buying habit, which is less than 1/10 the amount ….

    • What town, if you don’t mind telling. Car-free living – that sounds awesome!!

    • Car-free living is the way to be! I can tell it’s mostly Americans on this site, because Americans tend to be surprised at the notion of a car-free life being possible, but as someone who lives in a city with great transit, car-free is drastically cheaper and almost as convenient (not to mention much safer). Paying extra for accommodations that allow you to live without a car is a very worthwhile investment.

  8. I am one of those ppl that had the “Don’t spend money mantra” seared into my brain. It has taken me a little while, but that switch has finally flipped. I want to make more money so I can spend on what I want and not sweat the small stuff (student of the ZTL course to help make that happen :)). That being said, my new thing is buying breakfast at work. I really used to shake my head at all the people “wasting” their money buying food in the cafeteria on a regular basis. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but for me this was big. Can’t wait to make some real money though so my splurges can really look like splurges.

  9. Clothes + shoes. I love fashion (classic fashion, not weird runway fashion), it’s my hobby but people just don’t get that, and I get judged for it alllllllllllllll the time!! I blog about fashion for fun rather than to make a living – I have 3 jobs for that, so I don’t have adverts on my blog, which is considered weird. I don’t do climbing, or photography, or karting like my friends. I’d rather buy £200 shoes than a £200 camera lens because that’s what I get enjoyment out of 🙂

  10. I’m learning how to fly airplanes. It is amazing to be at altitude and take in the gorgeous landscape around you. I vividly recall the first time I saw a storm off in the distance: it looks like a rectangle where rain falls from one cloud but all around the rain cell is clear. Even if you are not interested in learning to fly, I highly recommend a discovery flight so you can get a completely different perspective of our planet.

    I haven’t told many people about flying since it is an expensive hobby, though select friends I’ve told think it’s pretty cool. I fund it by saving a certain amount each pay period into a sub-savings account in my bank, then debiting it whenever I pay for aircraft time (thanks for that idea from your book, Ramit).

    Our other big expense is paying off our student loans. Once those are done, on to helicopters (or as a friend who already flies rotary-wing aircraft calls them: magic carpets)!

    • My husband and I are aiming all our finances towards him doing a full CPL, ATPL course starting in November. Definitely not a cheap hobby but he comes home beaming with a spring in his step after every flight. He’s so animated when he describes how a turbine works, how certain technologies were developed by who, which airline is ordering which planes, the effects of weather on lift, … It’s worth every cent.

    • Not long after completing my private pilot ASEL, I decided I ought to take a helicopter ride. It really was awesome and I came away thinking how much I’d love to learn to fly helicopters. Unfortunately, every time I look at local rentals for training I just can’t help thinking, “that’s nearly twice what a plane costs…” Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from deciding where to put the helipad at my house.