I Splurged

I Splurged and That's OK

After setting record breaking savings rates the past few months it seems I am being tested. Heavily. And yes, the flesh is weak. As a result, I splurged a couple of days ago and cut my November savings rate by at least 12.5%. And it’s not over yet! How can this be? Two things have happened.

 

The haps

Asus GeForce GTX 970 StrixFirst, I finally pulled the trigger on a brand-new Asus GeForce GTX 970 Strix video card for my PC, something I’ve been contemplating as far back as the end of September when the card was first introduced. As some of you know, I really like video games and enjoy a high quality PC set-up.  While my old – ahem – graphics card definitely did the job, I found it sometimes lacking in driving my three monitors at the same time.

Combine that with the fact that I have absolutely zero tolerance for slow sluggish suboptimal PC performance and you end up with me spending over €360 on a fancy GTX 970. That’s more than my monthly rent payment. It’s also more than my discretionary spending from the past four months combined. More specifically, it’s 18% of my monthly salary.

Second, the seasonal Steam sales have begun. On top of that it’s raining Black Friday deals left and right, even here in Belgium. Online resellers are basically throwing games my way at a fraction of their original cost. Luckily, I never buy games when they’re brand-new and wait until the first large discount, so at least in the long-run I’m coming out ahead.

 

So what?

When I was in my first year of university during my very first and overly confusing class of philosophy, the first thing the professor uttered was “so what?” – yes, it was one of those courses. Weirdly enough, that one sentence has always stuck with me, even today. So after punching in my credit card details on the Amazon website, I asked myself so what?

Is it bad that I spent 18% of this month’s salary? That I have to spend 30 hours at the office to afford such a luxury?

My answer would be a confident no.

I shouldn’t care in the slightest. When you’re trying to reach financial independence by saving and investing rigorously, don’t feel bad when you sometimes spend money on stuff that really makes you happy. It might be very materialistic of me, but that video card will offer me many hours of fun in the very near and more distant future.

Being the frugal badass that I am, of course I made sure to reduce my initial investment of €360 by selling my previous graphics card for a hefty but fair €150. You see, you can have the best of both worlds. Luxury and frugality aren’t like water and fire. They should be used in tandem to achieve greater effect.

It’s like Jeremiah Fink announced all over BioShock Infinite’s dystopian flying city I’ll now be able to enjoy even better: “The early bird catcheth the worm!” If you’re well-prepared on your early retirement journey you’ll be able to enjoy many of the luxuries you desire.

Which luxury do you like spending money on even though you’re trying to save as much as possible?

 

And, oh yes, I can already imagine some of you rubbing your hands with glee out of good-natured Schadenfreude. Be sure to check back in two days to read about my November budget wrap-up!

43 Comments

  1. I am not an overly frugal person myself. While I try to save and be frugal in most areas, I disagree with folks who sacrifice so much in the reach to financial independence that they forget to live and enjoy a good life. If you are not going to enjoy the money, whats the point? I hope you enjoy your new toy 🙂 I am splurging on a new macbook this holiday season as my old laptop is 5 years old and getting slower by the day.

    cheers
    R2R

    1. R2R,

      You’re absolutely right about enjoying life and the money you save and invest! No point in dying worth a billion with someone else having fun with your money when you didn’t get to enjoy it one bit.

      I’m definitely enjoying my new toy! I’m finally able to enjoy some of the games that had been sitting in my library the way they are intended to be played.

      Replacing a five year old computer definitely sounds like a necessity! I don’t know many people who go longer than three years with a laptop. I hope you like you new Macbook when it arrives!

      Best wishes,
      NMW

  2. Nothing wrong with rewarding yourself now and then. Grats on the new video card, I am overdue for an upgrade myself. I’ll need to get a new one when Blizzard releases Overwatch. Enjoy Bioshock, I hear its a great game.

    1. Aye Cap’ain,

      As long as you’re not constantly rewarding yourself, buying a treat here and there definitely doesn’t hurt.

      Overwatch looks like a great game! Very Team Fortress 2 like, but with much more variety and specials. Maybe you’ll be able to snag a graphics card somewhere bundled with the game.

      BioShock is great, by the way. I’ve played all three games multiple times now. You shoul definitely try them out!

      Thanks for stopping by,
      NMW

  3. I’m you on this one. Splurge. You’ll get to FI anyways. Best to enjoy the ride. I also spend on things I like (expensive cycling equipment). Not many material possessions make me happy but cycling and running equipment does.

    1. 25000dividends,

      Cycling equipment can be expensive! I’m often drooling over the new stuff at my local bike shop. One day, I tell you… One day. 🙂

      You’re doing phenomenally! Huge progress! You’re really shoveling in money like crazy.

      Keep it up,
      NMW

  4. Love the attitude here, NMW! It’s important we not beat ourselves up over some purchases that will make us happy, especially when they might be seen as materialistic by others. I’m with you on having next to no patience for sluggish computers, and I’ve been eying some deals on computer parts as well. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull the trigger, though!

    Happy gaming!

    1. Erin,

      I believe you were one of the few people who told me to get one when I first asked the question back in October! I’m glad I did.

      You should definitely find some good deals in the next couple of weeks with Cyber Monday and the Holiday season coming up. I hope you find what you need to get that extra needed performance. 😉

      Cheers,
      NMW

    1. Of the graphics card or the entire set-up? 🙂 I have a post on my set-up and DIY monitor stand sitting in my drafts for weeks already, but haven’t had the time to finish it. I’ll probably post it soon.

  5. Hi NMW, another lovely weekend post from you! Don’t beat yourself up mate. You have your whole life ahead of you and you should enjoy it! You are doing amazingly well on your investing journey, so why not have a spot of enjoyment along the way. YAY NEW GRAPHICS CARD!

    1. M,

      Yay, indeed! I was like a kid on Christmas’ Eve when my package arrived… The beautiful and overly fancy box didn’t help to keep my excitement down. 😉

      Cheers,
      NMW

  6. Hi NMW,

    What is life without happiness? We all have vices, and it could be a lot worse than video games!

    The more you use the item and take satisfaction from it, the greater it’s value. If it were just sitting there collecting dust or if it really didn’t provide satisfaction and happiness then it might not be worth it.

    I also find that a good splurge on a rare occasion can result in future frugality as you get it out of your system.

    In any case, enjoy your new gaming experience, you’ve earned it!

    Best Wishes
    Huw

    1. Huw,

      You’re absolutely right. As far as vices go, very few are as innocent as a video game once in a while. And it’s like you said, I will be using that thing to death, so it’ll definitely be worth its money.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words!
      NMW

    1. Emily,

      You hit the nail on the head! To most people it might be a useless expense, but to me it isn’t. Even if I reach FI one day, I’ll gladly buy myself a new graphics card when needed!

      Best wishes,
      NMW

    1. BDI,

      A portable dishwasher? How does that work? To the Googles, I’ve never heard of something like that before.

      Clothing is something I can also spend a lot money on because I wear my clothes for a very long time. The upside from formal work attire for men is that it’s usually quite timeless.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      NMW

      1. NMW,

        think of living in an older home (60s). A normal dish washer requires too much valves and holes everywhere. A portable dish washer is nothing more than a bigger mini-fridge that you can put dishes in using the kitchen faucet.

        I bought a danby that uses only a small amount of water (compared to the rest) and average cleaning time of 1:30…but it was energy efficient so it barely cost more than $30 a month.

        I bought it since my parents are getting up in the years and I hate washing dishes.

  7. I bet my fiancé would be drooling over that thing. He used to have a GeForce card that had a wolf on it (alpha dog edition, maybe?), but he switched to an AMD system so his card is different now.

    I absolutelyagree that a splurge is definitely within the FI journey, especially when you’re killing it so well… plus it’s the only splurge I’ve seen from you in a long time. 🙂 enjoy!

    1. Alicia,

      Do you mean a GeForce 8800 GT? My friend used to have the exact same one! My new GTX970’s logo is an owl. Less initimidating, but very stealthy. As for your fiancé, switching to AMD is actually better from a cost-performance standpoint, so kudos for his frugal gaming habits. 😉

      You’re right about splurging once in a while. I have to restrain myself though… I can easily spend thousands on PC and audio equipment if I wanted to!

      Cheers,
      NMW

    1. SAD,

      You might be right about a long term goal fizzling out when you’re not having fun along the way. That’s also why I currently prefer dividend growth investing over index funds.

      Best wishes,
      NMW

  8. For me, frugality (in a positive and responsible way) isn’t a case of not spending, or only spending pennies, its a desire to only spend money on the things that you truly love and enjoy.

    You have clearly been thinking about this purchase for several months and isn’t something that you have just bought on a whim. You approached it sensibly and sold your old parts.

    I personally think that this doesn’t make you “unfrugal”.

    I hope you enjoy it!!

    Also, with you measuring your savings rate and aiming towards these goals, I think that the Moneystepper 2015 Savings Challenge that we are launching tomorrow (Monday 1st Dec) might be of interest to you. Would love for you to check it out.

    1. Moneystepper,

      You are absolutely right in my book. I love gaming and tinkering with my PC, so why wouldn’t I spend on it? I can think of much worse habits or hobbies.

      I’ll definitely check out your challenge!

      Thanks for stopping by,
      NMW

  9. Hi NMW
    With an incredible savings rate such as yours, you are more than entitled to have a splurge on something that will make you happy! That graphics card will no doubt give you hours of joy, so well worth the money for you! I Enjoy!

    1. I’ll definitely have a great time with the graphics card, Weenie! Thanks for the encouraging words!

      NMW

  10. What an awesome post! I am of the belief that happiness is of the utmost importance. So being financially independent would bring us all great happiness, but not if you refrain from any joy along the way. I too love video games and always viewed them as a great investment in entertainment and are ultimately rather inexpensive when compared to how many hours you can get out of a really good one. Skyrim anyone? 🙂 As for me, I like food and drink. That is where I may spend more than I need to, but life without good food is just…..unimaginable. Oh and I did recently splurge on a lot of stuff that will bring years of good times. So I think we need to all remember that we’re young in the grand scheme of things and life is indeed short.

    – HMB

    1. HMB,

      Gaming requires a serious initial investment, but in the long-run it’s actually quite a cheap hobby! I’m glad you mention Skyrim as it’s one of the main reasons why I bought the GTX 970. I have modded that game so hard that my old card only managed to render 8fps, whereas it managed to get over 90fps in the vanilla game. New I’m getting back up to 40fps with some small adjustments.

      You sound just like my roommate on good food and drink. He spends a ton on food and drinks, but he just really likes eating and tasting all kinds of drinks. If I did it, it would be a waste, but to him it provides so much joy that I happily accept his habits. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by,
      NMW

  11. This is between you and me NMW…..

    my wife bought me an iPhone 6 after all that talk about how you shouldn’t buy the iPhone 6 back in September!! HAHA!!!!!!!

    😉

    1. No way? Haha, that is the best thing I’ve heard all week – don’t mind that it’s monday. 😀

      You’ve been doing extremely well in the saving and investment department the past few weeks, so it’s not too bad she did. I hope you enjoy it!

      Cheers,
      NMW

  12. It is a little reward for yourself. Not a problem for me at all.
    Just imagine that I have traveled through South America with my girlfriend for 3 month this year, bought a Specialized Roubaix road bike and thinking about a MacPro to be able to work on a film project of the 3 month travel.
    Still I was able to invest heavily throughout the year meaning I was able to double my dividend income.

    1. Lars,

      Little would be an understatement, but you’re right that it shouldn’t be a problem in the grand scheme of things.

      Damn, I’m jealous of that Specialized road bike. I’ve been eying those kind of bikes for years! And the trip through South America doesn’t sound too bad either. Where can I sign up? 😉

      The fact that you doubled your dividend income while doing all of that is really impressive! I guess I finally have to get over my bad German and try to consistently keep up with your blog.

      Best wishes,
      NMW

  13. I tried getting a high end NVIDIA card Friday from newegg but they were sold out when I went to process my order.

    As for splurging… saving is important but it cannot be everything because you can get stuck in never enjoying your wealth you are building up. If a person hits 60 and retires are they only then going to enjoy life after been tight for 30+ years? Would they even start then if they have to live another 20?

    1. PMU,

      That sucks! Which card were you trying to buy? I’m sure you’ll find some excellent deals on Newegg right before Christmas. I wish Newegg shipped to Belgium, btw!

      You’re absolutely right about enjoying your wealth sometimes. The thing about financial independence is that you have to find a way to balance necessary expenses and fun things so that your standard of living is great at any given time, both during your working years and when you’re retired.

      Cheers,
      NMW

  14. This is exactly why we’re pursuing financial independence – to cut down on the unnecessary and focus on what truly matters. It’s not about being a tightwad in every aspect of our lives.

    Great to know that you have that exemplary mindset. And with a 70% savings rate, that graphics card is a reward well deserved!

    -WCF

    1. Josh,

      You’re absolutely right! Like so many others have commented, what’s the point of saving all this money if you’re not going to enjoy it by doing things you truly love?

      Cheers,
      NMW

  15. Yep agreed with what most have said. It’s not about not buying ANYTHING it’s just not buying EVERYTHING you could possible imagine wanting (which is what most people do, well until their paycheck runs out anyway!).

    If you really want something, then go for it.

    Our splurging tends to be on going out (alcohol, food) which as consumables are an ongoing cost, so I’d much rather have your one time splurg on video games which then last much longer. I’m just not that into them right now (I used to love them as a youngun though!)

    And recently we’ve been buying a lot of stuff for the house as we recently moved in, but I am banking on those reducing very quickly as the months roll on.

    Cheers!

    1. Firestarter,

      It seems we agree on nearly anything! 🙂

      Splurging oin going out (alcohol and food) isn’t too bad when the goal is to build and strengthen your social relationships. When it’s just going out for the sake of it, then you’re wasting money in my book, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case for you.

      Video games are an expensive inexpensive hobby. On the one hand you have a serious commitment to make because you need either a PC or a console plus tv, but on the other the games can be had for relatively cheap if you’re willing to wait. My favourite game, Dark Souls, cost me about €90 in total, but I’ve had more than 1000 hours of fun with it – that’s a lot of bang for your buck.

      Once you’re settled those one-time moving expenses will go down fast, no doubt about that!

      Best wishes,
      NMW

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