Three Things I’ll Spend Money On (and Three I Won’t)

[As part of our new weekly column by Mr. 1500 of]


See that sign up there? I noticed it on a hike in Boulder Colorado a couple weeks ago. I had no idea what a paraglider was, but I was determined to find out. The thought of flying greatly excites me, but I always dismissed the idea of owning anything that flies because of the extreme cost.

I didn’t have to wait long to learn about paragliders. On the way back, my youngest child started yelling excitedly and pointing at something in the sky:

I waited for the paraglider to land and then accosted the pilot with questions. He told me that I can get certified in just a couple of weeks and gave me some websites to research equipment and lessons. It turns out that the sport isn’t cheap:

$7,000 (!)

That is a lot money to fly around on a big kite. However, I didn’t have to think about it for even a second; I’m doing it. Flying around the mountains of Colorado will make me happy, so I think this may be the best $7,000 I’ll ever spend. Unless I screw up and spiral to my death. Then it won’t be so great. If that happens, I hope death comes quick! Sorry wife and kids!


I love bikes. I love them so much that I have three of them:

The grey Cannondale is a road bike that set me back $950. I take it for rides into the mountains where I push myself until my legs burn. I’ve ridden 128 miles in a day and gone 50 mph on it.

The black Giant is a full-suspension mountain bike that I purchased used for $1,000. I’ve flown over the handlebars many, many times. Somehow, I’ve never injured myself beyond bad scrapes. Knock on aluminum.

The red one is an eBike that I built for about $1,600. This is my commuter machine. I can get around town quickly, eliminating the need for car trips when time is tight.


Alcohol is toxic. If you’re going to drink something that’s bad for you, it should taste good. These all tasted very good:

There are folks who will spend $500 for one bottle of beer. I’m not that crazy, but I have spent $10 on one. Drinkers of Lite beer think that is crazy. So be it.

Important note: Beer is for after flying or biking!

What I Won’t Spend Money On…

I’ll blow $7,000 becoming a human kite, $3,600 on bicycles (and a skateboard) and $10 on a bottle of beer. Here is what I refuse to spend money on:

Too much house

Money tied up in a house isn’t working for you. Your primary home is usually a poorly performing investment, so every place I buy is modest. I also try to buy homes in need of some love and then put some sweat equity into them.

Fancy hotels

I’m in a hotel room to sleep. They all look the same with the lights out. I pay a little more not to stay in the Bedbug Inn, but fancy hotel chains aren’t for me.

First class airline seats

I never understood why someone will pay $1,000 to sit in a wide seat for a couple hours when they could buy a nice recliner from the furniture store for $400 instead and enjoy it for decades. I’m sure my butt would appreciate those wide seats and my legs would be comfortable with the extra legroom, but it would sure piss off my wallet.

What’s Important to YOU?

You may think I’m insane for paying $7,000 to fly around. A human kite isn’t for everyone, but it will bring me happiness and the money won’t break the bank (as long as the kite doesn’t break!).

One of the keys to life is figuring out what makes you happy and pursuing it full throttle.

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to live it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it, and find out the truth about who you are.  – Anne Lamott

We all need meaningful work and activities. At the core is figuring yourself out. I still have work to do, but I’m getting there. How about you?

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  1. Dave @ Run The Money August 2, 2017 at 6:33 AM

    Well, I don’t have an extra 7k laying around to be a human kite, but it looks like so much fun. If I had it to spend, I’d do it!

    I agree with you on what you don’t spend money on. Chalk it up as nice to have, but I rather not waste my hard-earned dough.

  2. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle August 2, 2017 at 6:34 AM

    We were actually just talking about this! We are the weirdos in our circles, of course, because we don’t have brand new vehicles, blow money on anything and everything, and all that. But what it is so hard for our family and friends to realize, is that we do spend money. We are just picky and spend money on things that we think are worth it.
    Buying nice running shoes is worth it to me.
    Having a smoker that he enjoys is worth it to my husband.
    We enjoy going on trips with our kids.
    That is all money well spent to us. Not money blown on a daily basis, just because. That makes me feel anxious! I have no need for a brand new truck or the latest style. It’s all about priorities!

    1. J. Money August 2, 2017 at 7:33 AM

      That would make for a great blog name actually, :)

      1. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle August 2, 2017 at 11:16 AM

        I’ll bookmark that name for my next blog! :)

    2. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 7:41 AM

      Yeah, it’s all about priorities and mindfulness! Thoughtless spending is an empty exercise. Thing about what matters to you and let the dollars fly!

  3. Divnomics August 2, 2017 at 6:42 AM

    Sounds like your spending the money where your heart is ;)

    There are two things that are really important for me in this context. One is to never decide to not do things only because it cost your money. If paragliding will give you utter joy, it’s probably worth the money. You have to make thoughtful choices, though. Secondly, while you spend more on one side, make sure you save on the other. Like a big home, or fancy first class tickets (who does that really?).

    We still have a long road ahead of us until we reach FI. But with some things, I don’t want to wait. My money costing hobby right now is motorcycles. Got my license earlier this year, and looking to buy one of my own (second hand of course). Don’t regret a thing about it.

  4. PaulM August 2, 2017 at 7:20 AM

    We all need some passions in life or life would be pretty predictable and boring. Paragliding seems like a lot of fun but then I remember my fear of heights and I think I’ll keep my feet on the ground and fly a non-human kite.

    My passion right now is photography and my equipment has cost me over a thousand in the last couple of years, well worth it to me and the joy it brings. Next time I’m in Boulder, I’ll look up and perhaps snap a picture of you hovering above. I do have a fast lens and hopefully will use it to capture you spiraling up and not down.

    I agree with the three things not worth the money and would add one — a new fancy car. My wallet would throb for years and that first scratch would just kill me..

    Have fun!

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 7:42 AM

      I don’t like heights either, but for whatever reason, paragliding doesn’t scare me.

      And watch out so I don’t land on you! :)

  5. Grettman August 2, 2017 at 7:37 AM

    I just dropped $1,900 on a new bike. Didn’t even blink. Hiking gear, camping gear, gun stuff, and other stuff that enables me to have a good experience. I try to keep costs sensible and don’t get the best of the best. Need to keep costs down on gear so that I can actually spend the money to go somewhere to use it.

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 7:43 AM

      Oooh, share the details on that bike!

      1. Grettman August 2, 2017 at 8:12 AM

        it is a Cannondale Supersix (used). Mostly SRAM red 22 component group. This is an upgrade from my 2001 model CAAD6 Cannondale. Being older now, the aluminum frame is just too rough to ride.

  6. Lily @ The Frugal Gene August 2, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    I completely agree about the flight class, to each their own but I don’t get it.

    I’ll lay out a $100 on sushi but I’m not going to shell out $100 at a beauty salon. I believe they call people like me foodie…or fatty fatty fat fat.

    1. Kristy August 2, 2017 at 8:49 AM

      Same here! Travel and food are two things that I am okay spending money on. Clothes and beauty products….no thanks!

    2. J. Money August 2, 2017 at 10:21 AM

      Haha…. can we call you that from now on? Miss Fatty fattty fat fat fat (or was that one too many fats?)

  7. Lance @ My Strategic Dollar August 2, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    I will always spend money on tires for my car. I’ve purchased the cheaper ones and they just don’t hug the road as good as moderately priced ones. I’m looking into getting a bike (haven’t had one in years) and I’m working to understand the difference between the cheaper versions and more expensive ones. I think I’m going to max out at $1000 though.

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:06 PM

      Get a good bike, but you don’t need to go crazy. People spend thousands to save a couple pounds. Instead, eat more salads and save big money!

  8. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance August 2, 2017 at 7:48 AM

    Oh wow I have never heard of the human kite before. That sounds like fun. I look forward to an update on the flight!

    I agree with you on the three things you wouldn’t spend money on. I wouldn’t either although I secretly hope that I will get them for free or at a steep discount.

  9. carlotta August 2, 2017 at 7:51 AM

    things I spend money on:
    1.fancy camera and stuff that goes with it : good computer, hard disks, giga on the clouds.
    I’m not particulary good, but I enjoy the taking, the working on them and the memories.
    2.Trips around the globe: the husband and I go somewhere at least once every 4 weeks. most of the times is just for the weekend, we go by car, and stay in cheap hotels. Twice a year it’s longer , farer, and you have to fly there, but we stay in cheap hotels nonetheless.
    3. education: we like many things, we’re interested in many things, we want to learn more….we buy books, online courses and local classes without thinking too much about it.

    Things I won’t spend my money on:
    1.clothes . all of my clothes fit on a rack, 50% of them were bought in a supermarket and the rest was given to me by my mother that goes crazy about my bad fashion choices. I’m 36, up until a couple of months ago I’ve only owned 1 car ! I had to buy a new (used) one because I moved to a certain country where they drive on the other side of the road, otherwise I would have driven with my original car here and kept using it.
    3.disposable things:paper towels, ziplock bags, wipes,small bottles of water. it may sounds silly, but it really adds up at the end of the year and the environment will thank you!

    1. J. Money August 2, 2017 at 10:25 AM

      Love how confident you are in all of these :)

  10. Mrs. Adventure Rich August 2, 2017 at 7:54 AM

    A different twist but I was just laughing with a friend from my running club about how we will avoid lattes, fancy cars, excess spending, etc… but we will pay $20-40 at the drop of a hat for the local running races we participate in! A big part of it for me is the active and competitive outlet, as well as the incredible community I have found in my local running club. I am willing to pay a bit each month to go and spend time with them, cheer them on and have a fun race!

    Oh- and good beer. Always good beer (at home so it is cheaper!).

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:07 PM

      Running! You’re maintaining your health which is absolutely priceless.

  11. MK August 2, 2017 at 7:59 AM

    I live a pretty tame lifestyle – no fancy car or house. My “joyful” spending generally is for experiences – a dinner tour on the Rocky Mountain Railroad, learning how to ride a Segway, taking the car ferry across Lake Michigan. Over the past few years, I’ve begun to travel more and make sure I experience something new each place I go. Those memories last a lifetime.

  12. Apathy Ends August 2, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    I shouldn’t be thinking about beer this early Mr 1500, but am 100% with you on not buying crappy lite beer. Anything I am going to use a lot, pay for quality, fishing gear specifically comes to mind.

    Also things that will save me time, ordered a Roomba with credit card points and can’t wait to have a robot cleaning my house

  13. Amy @ Life Zemplified August 2, 2017 at 8:02 AM

    You must really like the Pliny.

    Like you I’m still figuring myself out. Might as well enjoy the process while we are. For my husband and I that includes spending money on golf, craft beer, and our 1965 Ford F-100.

    Looking forward to hearing about your paragliding adventures!

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:08 PM

      Pliny is fantastic, but rare. I probably get it 4 times per year.

  14. Leo T. Ly August 2, 2017 at 8:18 AM

    I would like to buy my own freedom and the choice to do what I want with my free time. For now, my freedom is pretty expensive, but it will provide me with decades of happiness.

    I am a pretty boring guy and like to buy assets that pays me when I own it. So I will always spend my money on stocks and real estate.

    Things that I don’t buy are expensive cars, tv or jewelry. Thing that I have to pay out of my pocket to own. Hence, I tried to minimize these items as much as possible.

    1. J. Money August 2, 2017 at 10:26 AM

      Stock investing is a good hobby to have :)

  15. Mr. SSC August 2, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Like Mrs. Adventure Rich, I don’t mind (okay it hurts actually) spending the money to enter a triathlon or road race and they range from $60-$150 per race. I enjoy it and it keeps me active since I don’t want to suck eggs on the course.

    When I lived in Denver I always thought about paragliding, but the cost was too high of an entry point. One thing I’m looking forward to in the move out to Canyon Lake is getting into kite boarding. Like windsurfing on a wakeboard and looks totally fun. Fortunately, a good beginner setup is in the $1500 range not $7k.

    It’s all about priorities. :)

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:10 PM

      Kite boarding looks awesome!

      And no way I’d blow the $7,000 if it would alter my finances significantly. I’ll always be mindful of money. I still get mad when I get a fine for $.10 at the library for returning a book late. That is wasting money!

  16. Christine Luken, Financial Lifeguard August 2, 2017 at 8:45 AM

    3 Things I’ll Spend Money On:
    1.) Experiences and Vacations With the People I Love: I’ve been surfing in Maui with my husband, dogsledding with my best friend in Alaska, and taken a falconry less on a trip to the Greenbriar Resort with my Dad for his 70th birthday. All were epic, expensive, and worth every penny!
    2.) Classes, Books, & Coaches: Learning is super important to me in my life and business. I rarely regret investing in my education
    3.) My Health and Appearance: I’ll spend extra money for organic food and supplements because I know these things support my health. Because I’m a public speaker, I splurge on manicures, haircuts, and professional clothing. I probably spend less on this than many women, but I know first impressions are important.

    Three things I won’t spend money on:
    1.) Expensive cars: I paid cash for 2 Hyundai Sonatas. I kept the first for 10 years. My current one is 3 years old and I’ll probably have that for another 7.
    2.) The latest technology. It’s just that important to me. I keep my laptops until they’re 1/2 dead and my IT person warns me sternly that I NEED a new one. Now.
    3.) Dining out. My husband and I eat out once a week at our favorite Mexican restaurant, but rarely go out for fancy dinners. I enjoy cooking, so it’s not something I care to spend a bunch of money on.

    1. J. Money August 2, 2017 at 10:28 AM

      Dogsledding!!!! You don’t hear about that too often, wow.

  17. Mrs. Groovy August 2, 2017 at 9:04 AM

    If our lithium mine hits, we might spring for first class to Australia.

    We’ll be zip-lining over Lake Coeur d’alene on our next trip. Not as costly a hobby as your new one but still, it’s a stretch for me to spend for fun like that.

    I go to hair salons and will never cut my own hair. I also prefer buying new clothing and shopping wisely, rather than buying clothes from a thrift shop someone else has worn.

    Can’t wait to see a photo of you flying on a big kite!

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:10 PM

      Whoah, did you really invest in a lithium mind? Lithium is the new gold!

      1. Physician on FIRE August 2, 2017 at 11:45 PM

        There’s a not-so-subtle difference between a lithium mind and a lithium mine.


  18. Dave August 2, 2017 at 9:04 AM

    I feel the same way. I too won’t spend money on a big house, first class flights, or fancy hotels. Like you, I spend money on my hobbies or interests that bring me pleasure.

  19. Mr Crazy Kicks August 2, 2017 at 9:22 AM

    Targeted spending on stuff that makes you happy is the way to go! So do you get a glider setup with that 7k or just the lesson?

    Sweet bikes! I see the fancy shocks on your mountain bike, you got a good deal for $1k. Looks a lot like my trek fuel which also cost $1k. I’ve also been going over the top on beer, I got talked into a $24 four pack the other week. At least it’s cheaper than at the bar :)

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:11 PM

      7K covers everything. I’m crazy, but not that crazy! :)

  20. Sarah De Diego August 2, 2017 at 10:04 AM

    Dear Mr 1500,

    I will spend money on experiences and quality “toys” for my family.

    I won’t spend (much) money on clothes, cars, books (I go to the library instead) or stuff (a.k.a. dust collectors).

    I used to spend money on nice wines and eating out. I really enjoyed it and hope to add it back into my budget (because we can afford it).

    All the best with your flight.

    Besos Sarah.

  21. Mrs. Picky Pincher August 2, 2017 at 10:16 AM

    Wowza! That’s a hefty price tag for paragliding, but good cheesus does it look fun! I would never do that in a million years (fear of heights), but wow, what an experience of a lifetime! I think it’s better to spend money on experiences and a select handful of things that make you happy. For us it’s time together (we just spent $20 over the weekend on laser tag and it was SO fun), family (taking the nieces and nephews to Chuck E. Cheese), and good food.

  22. Dads Dollars Debts August 2, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    So when are you going to go paragliding!? It does seem like fun. Part of the beauty of being financially independent is that you can spend that money on a kite…if you were struggling in debt or to pay your monthly expenses, it would probably not be the best idea.

    Enjoy! I like to spend money on food. Not fanciful $300 food but good food. Yummy food. Thoughtful food I would not have made at home.

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:12 PM

      Paragliding will be in the spring when time frees up.

      I feel the exact same way about food. Hello Thai!

  23. K.I.Simple August 2, 2017 at 10:21 AM

    My husband and I are the same way. I’ve taken flying lessons, ridden in a hot air balloon, helicopter and aeronautical bi-plane. We have an old Jeep that we take rock climbing and 2 kayaks we got at an end of season sale. We also have a couple of beer growlers that we like to get filled, often. ;) But, we don’t go into debt for any of it. Cash or it doesn’t happen!

    I don’t spend money to impress other people. Sure, I could have the latest handbag and accessories but I’d rather drink good beer and go on an adventure!

    1. J. Money August 2, 2017 at 10:33 AM

      “Cash or it doesn’t happen!” – BOOM

  24. Miguel @ The Rich Miser August 2, 2017 at 11:32 AM

    As to hotels, do you always just stay at the cheapest hotel that has the location you need and is not a dump? Or are you loyal to one or more chains, or do you use a bidding site like Priceline?

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:13 PM

      All of the above! I like Choice Hotels. It’s not the cheapest, but they are clean and have the waffle maker. Mmmmmm waffles…

  25. Primal Prosperity August 2, 2017 at 11:56 AM

    I’m soooo with you on the beer. If I’m going to ingest the calories, it better taste good!

    I’ve done a tandem paragliding flight. If I still lived near mountains, I would probably be doing it also. I used to know some paragliders, who would hike up the mountain with the paraglider on their back and then fly down… no car needed, unlike hang gliding.

    My biggest regular expense is to support local farmers. We spend more money at co-ops, local grocers and farmers markets, to support local farmers and mom and pop businesses. I just read a book by Vicki Robbin (a FIRE pioneer!), called “Blessing the Hands that Feed Us”. She talks about her past frugality with food, and her current mindset of the importance of supporting local food systems.

    I also like to spend money on travel, but fancy resorts bore the crap out of me. I’d rather be exploring the area, rather than sitting in a fancy room or at a pool. Also, first class doesn’t matter much to me. I’d like to do it once in my life, but I get up often on long flights anyway, so it really doesn’t matter.

    1. J. Money August 3, 2017 at 6:52 AM

      Heeyyyy there you are! Been missing you :)

  26. Paul @ ABL August 2, 2017 at 12:03 PM

    You would have to pay me a handsome fee to paraglide.

    However, if you GoPro your ride, I might pay you $1 to view it :-) Get started on your Armchair Paraglide Youtube channel!

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:13 PM

      Oh crap, I didn’t figure in the price of a GoPro! I’ll get an old used one…

  27. Abel Travis August 2, 2017 at 12:38 PM

    I would add Travel to the Things I would spend money on. I found that my family and I tend to reminisce over the times we’ve traveled Switzerland, Iceland, etc. We never talk about the time we drove our car to the mall. On things like expensive cars, while it feels good for the first few days, it becomes just another car. With travel, we still chuckle about the time we go lost with no phones, maps, etc in Italy. Such good memories and stories to share with our friends.

  28. Joe August 2, 2017 at 1:02 PM

    I wouldn’t spend money on any flying or motorcycle lesson. Too risky for me. You may want to check with your life insurance company. Most insurance companies won’t insure pilots. Not sure about paragliding.
    Sorry to be a party pooper…

    Not much spending on beer these days either. It has to be a special occasion or something really good. I can’t drink much anymore due to my triglyceride level. Sad face..
    I don’t mind spending on traveling and seeing new places.

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 1:14 PM

      Nah, don’t need life insurance since we have enough.

      No beer? Now that is sad…

  29. Elizabeth August 2, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    At first I thought, this is a question about passions and I can’t think of anything I spend that much money on so maybe I don’t have any passions? Then I looked at my trends on Mint and my top 3 expenses are:

    1. Home – I love my apartment, I love my neighborhood, I love my commute, I love living by myself. Also, I come home and just think “Ahhh.”
    2. Charity – I think it’s really important to give back. It’s just part of who I am and how I was raised.
    3. Health/education – It’s my quarterly payment for my life coach which helps me find out about myself (education) and supports my career and well-being (health).

    Things I won’t spend a lot on
    1. I don’t have a car and the last one I had was 18 years old. I told my friends that I thought people would think I was poor because I didn’t have a car anymore and they all told me, having that clunker of a car is what makes people think you’re poor.
    2. Food – I love food but I’m a very efficient shopper and I’ve started a one meal a day diet, which has been great for me, so it’s very difficult for me to spend a lot on food.
    3. Electronics – I understand having a smart phone and a computer but anything more than that I just don’t understand the attraction. I don’t even understand getting a TV. With your laptop, you can watch stuff in any room in your house.

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 9:13 PM

      I’m glad that you mentioned charity. Little do my kids know, but I look forward to donating most of money when I buy the farm (hopefully not from a paragliding accident!).

  30. Paul August 2, 2017 at 2:17 PM

    Kudos to you for getting into the sport. It is on my bucket list and I will get there. You should also look into paramotoring which basically adds an engine and propeller to what you will be doing. As for priorities, you are absolutely spot on. You need to find out what brings you joy. You can only spend that dollar once and you have to look at it in terms of ROI. What joy will it bring to you and what is the purpose?

    We all have absolutes of what we will not spend money on. Mine is on expensive clothes. I see the value in a good pair of work shoes that will last. The rest of those “one wear” purchases are a waste of time. I am not a foodie and only eat not to be hungry and so spending a lot of money on eating out is not worth it to me.

    All the best with your flight(s)

    1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 9:16 PM

      Yeah, I’m thinking of going the motor route. More $$$, but more fun and longer flights.

  31. The 76K Project August 2, 2017 at 2:18 PM

    Things I’ll spend money on: travel (I mean, I’ll be careful to look for savings where I can, but I refuse to give it up), visits to see family across the country (so, still travel – but travel with, you know, family obligations), and a clean, well-maintained place to live where my son can have his own bedroom and we all have our own space. Things I don’t and won’t spend money on, because I just don’t care about these things and therefore hate to throw money at them: fancy clothes, events that have a hefty ticket price, makeup, jewelry…

    1. The 76K Project August 2, 2017 at 2:18 PM

      Also, yes, good beer is worth a little extra cash every now and then!

  32. Dave @ Married with Money August 2, 2017 at 2:38 PM

    I never understood the First class thing either if you’re just an individual traveler. Either be bumped up for free if you’re a frequent flyer or suck it up :)

    Good list!

  33. Paul August 2, 2017 at 3:08 PM

    Im 6’5 I wont pay for first class but the extra 30 bucks for more leg room is worth it to me and my back for any flight over an hour.

    1. Paul August 2, 2017 at 3:10 PM

      Also I paid $10 dollars for a bottle of dogfish 120. Was worth it for the try.

      1. Mr. 1500 August 2, 2017 at 9:17 PM

        6’5″! I feel for you on flights. I probably literally feel you too (knees in the back of my seat) on flights. :)

        1. Paul August 7, 2017 at 8:56 AM

          You would, unfortunately my knees have no where to go even with my hips all the way back in the seat…

      2. J. Money August 3, 2017 at 6:36 AM

        I once spent $40 on a bottle of water called “Bling H20” – hah.

        I still have it and waiting to drink it in celebration one day of how far I’ve come ;)

        1. Paul August 7, 2017 at 8:57 AM

          What makes it bling?

    2. Jeff August 6, 2017 at 12:55 PM

      Airplane seats are so tight you have to pay for the “comfort” seats. Or your knees will pay. I used to wonder why my knees hurt. Now I tell my wife sorry no more window seats for you, I need to sit in an aisle seat.

  34. Tara August 2, 2017 at 4:10 PM

    I drove down from the Philly area to Emerald Isle, NC (family has house there) for vacation. On way down we got a hotel room to split the trip. It was a Hilton Garden Inn for $110 a night because it was in the middle of nowhere. Now a Hilton Garden Inn is the cheaper version of a Hilton, but it was a heck of a lot cleaner than the cheapo hotels in the area we were staying. I’m with you, I don’t need fancy hotels, but I loved having a NICE hotel room. I say, if you’re in a cheap area, look at price range, not necessarily hotel brand. Sometimes you can get a great deal on a fancy place for cheap, especially if you’re in what people from elsewhere in the state call “Redneck Rapids”. A Hilton Garden Inn in my area goes for $250 a night, so it was a nice treat!

  35. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto August 2, 2017 at 4:45 PM

    $7k to be able to fly in CO! Priceless!

    Live life to live.

    Great seeing Mr 1500 joining ranks. I’ve always enjoyed his writing, great addition to your team.

    1. J. Money August 3, 2017 at 6:36 AM

      Glad you approve, good sir.

  36. Mr. Tako August 2, 2017 at 5:58 PM

    It’s good to see you experimenting with your newfound freedom Carl. Paragliding should make for some hilarious blog posts too!

    Also — be careful and don’t die. That takes all the fun out of life.

  37. Miss Mazuma August 2, 2017 at 7:18 PM

    You totally got me thinking about past expenses I skipped that I regretted and those I should regret but don’t. I started typing a response to this earlier but it got way too long so I have to make a post out of it! :) I’m with you on the hotels and big houses. I’d rather have a big garden! As for the paragliding.,,you’re on your own, but please take video if you do it!

    1. J. Money August 3, 2017 at 6:37 AM


      1. Miss Mazuma August 3, 2017 at 12:29 PM

        Shoot – you mean I have to finish the post? Not my strong suit these days. ;)

  38. Tonya@Budget and the Beach August 3, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    I love music and back in my 20s I saw TONS of live music, but today I refuse to drop several hundred dollars on big names like the Eagles, Sting, or U2 like my friends to, only for them to appear like tiny ants on stage because you just spent $500 on the nosebleed section. I can watch a concert video from the comfort from my home with a better view for free!

    1. J. Money August 4, 2017 at 4:39 PM

      Haha yeah – I just get so BORED sitting/standing in one place no matter who’s on the stage?? It literally has to be a festival of like 50 bands and/or have all my best friends in the world in the same spot for me to have a great time…. Damn a.d.d.

  39. EL August 3, 2017 at 5:33 PM

    I would spend on the beer, sneakers, and vacations. I will not spend on luxury clothes, fancy cell phones, and fancy cars. I will never go crazy on too much house, unless the rich wife bought it, and then I’ll see it as an investment. Haha.

    1. J. Money August 4, 2017 at 4:38 PM

      Love that you wrote a post on it too!

  40. B@Fillennial August 4, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    Mr. 1500 you should check out paramotoring! Its all the joys of being a human kite with a giant fan attached to your back so you can take off from anywhere! Classes are around the same price point but it’s a bit more expensive to have your own gear.

    1. Mr. 1500 August 7, 2017 at 8:08 AM

      YEAH! I recently discovered that the place I’m taking the lessons at does this too. The equipment would be a little more, but it seems like more fun too.

  41. Sandra August 5, 2017 at 2:57 AM

    Got ya beat on the bike budget, J Money. Bought my dream bike in 2014 for $6,000 (including Garmin, saddle…). I justify it as an investment in my health…plus, I’ve been cycling for 34 years. Come to think of it, I spend a lot of money on cycling, including touring around the U.S. and other countries. Also spend money on downhill skiing.
    What I won’t spend money on:
    Manicures (never had one).
    Lottery tickets (never purchased one).
    Luxury hotels, for same reasons.
    Expensive concerts featuring big name musicians (waste of money).

    1. J. Money August 7, 2017 at 9:57 AM

      You must be fit as hell!

  42. Christine August 5, 2017 at 10:33 PM

    LOVE this! I too like to spend money on bikes, though I only have 2 at the moment. A road bike that I LOVE and recently rode 350+ miles across Iowa and a fixie Cruiser that I ride around the neighborhood and to the park pulling my toddler. The house thing is something we’ve been talking about a lot around here. We bought too much house because we thought we “needed” it but have come to realize that what we REALLY want is less stuff/clutter/cleaning to occupy our time so that we can do more biking/camping/general adventuring.

    1. Mr. 1500 August 7, 2017 at 8:06 AM

      Hi Christina!

      “rode 350+ miles across Iowa and a fixie Cruiser”

      Whoah! And big-ass hat tip to you!

      And, this can only mean that you were on RAGBRAI! I LOVE that ride (7 time participant)! Because of children, we’ve skipped the last couple, but were thinking about doing it in 2018. See you there?

  43. Mrs.Moe August 6, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Good for you on your “human kite” investment! Like you, we choose to spend our money on experiences and less on “stuff”. You aren’t buried with your stuff, and having stuff just makes you want more stuff. However, a great experience shared with your favorite people is what life’s all about. I’d rather have a full passport than a full house. :D

  44. Dora August 7, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    I will be investing in my health for the next three months. It’s a weight-loss program that helped a family member lose excess weight. He convinced me that it’s much more than that – it’s a full health assessment.
    It will cost about $1,500. It’s worth it to me because I’m feeling my health change as the years go by and want to get it under control.
    I want to enjoy many energetic years of retirement.

  45. Adriana @MoneyJourney August 8, 2017 at 4:12 AM

    You’re not insane for spending a buttload of money on something you clearly enjoy.
    Insane are people who spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need.

  46. Michael August 10, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    Great points on the beer! I’m in the craft beer game myself, and the shares turn out to be a great way to get people together and try great beers from all over the world. As long as you’re being reasonable (not spending $500 on one bottle of Side Project), it’s a good hobby that always keeps you on the move and busy searching for the next one.

    If you ever want to send some of that Pliny my way, let me know! :)

  47. ZJ Thorne August 26, 2017 at 5:45 PM

    I spend good money on quality shoes that are worth re-soling and last for years with baby-ing. I like looking good and I want to be able to walk for miles no matter what outfit I’m wearing.

  48. CBizzle September 17, 2017 at 11:23 AM

    I LOVE this post :-) Good for you, and I’m excited to see pictures from your kite adventures!
    My wife and I are on our way to FI (35, $1.1) and I have become a firm believer over the years that buying quality and frugality are not mutually exclusive concepts. It’s all about figuring out what’s really important to you and investing in those areas.
    It’s a great lie that you have to spend lavishly in all aspects of your life to have a quality lifestyle; pick the things that are important to you and spend in those areas and save your money on others.
    Things I choose to invest in:
    1. Travel- Spending money to travel with my family is an investment in our memories, relationships, and education. You can’t put a price on the smile a 5 year old has at Disney World, or the benefit to your marriage a long weekend away for just the two of you can provide (well, I suppose you can put a price on it, I just don’t mind it ;-)

    2. Quality cooking equipment- Cooking is one of my very favorite hobbies; a perfect Saturday for me is having some friends over and trying out a new recipe. Buying quality cooking equipment will last you a lifetime and improve the results you get in the kitchen. However, when the people at Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table know you by name you may have a problem :-/

    3. Housing- You spend everyday at your home. Having a space that I enjoy, fits my lifestyle, and that I’m proud to come home to give me a lot of joy. I know it’s not the best use of assets, but I derive a lot of utility from my home and that’s worth a little extra to me. That said, I also live in Houston and you can get a lot of house here for relatively cheap; I’m sure I’d feel differently if I lived in NYC or the Bay Area.

    Things I won’t spend money on:
    1. Expensive hotels or first class airfare- I totally agree with you on this one. I’ve never understood the 1st class airfare mindset; we’re all going to the same place, and we’re all going to get there at the same time. Same for hotels, I’m just sleeping there. Expensive airfare and hotels eat into my travel budget! By flying inexpensively and staying in AirBNBs my wife and I were able to add 5 days to our Italy trip for the same price as staying in fancy hotel. Don’t get me wrong, fancy hotels are nice, but I’d rather have an extra 5 days in Tuscany.

    2. Cars- Nice cars are the silliest thing that we spend money on. Depreciation, repairs, and worry are not something I want to sign up for with my transportation. I’ll gladly drive my 2011 Toyota to live in a nicer home; easiest decision I’ve ever made.

    3. Jewelry- I have a plain silver wedding band. That’s the extent of my vast jewelry holdings. I have purchased the wife a few nice pieces over the years, but more because I wanted to than she wanted them I think. I have friends with $12,000 watches and it absolutely makes my brain bleed to think about the ridiculousness of that purchase.