Within the last 3 weeks, two different friends of mine mentioned wanting to own expensive massage chairs. We’re talking the $4000+ chairs that do all sorts of things including leaning you back and using inflatable ankle cuffs to stretch out your spine (which sounds amazing to me, so I am hoping at least one of them makes this happen, hehe).
When one of them directly asked me how I’d suggest saving for a big-ticket splurge, I hesitated. I know what I advise for people to do. Yet I also know what I’ve actually done…
In a perfect world, you have infinite patience. You use that patience to save an affordable percentage of your income diligently until you have saved up enough for whatever floats your boat. If you barely make enough to survive as it is, you find a way to increase your income like side hustles, renting out a room in your house, part-time work, looking at available “Gigs” on Craigslist, etc. Then use that extra for the big “want” in your life.
In reality, it’s complicated. I suggest saving for fun at all times. Like even a simple 5% of your take home pay. Then you may already have the cash when something big comes along…or at least a solid head start.
Or if we have all of our current expenses and minimum retirement savings covered, sometimes I just splurge. 😉
To get really specific, we bought a $6000+ bedroom set and Tempurpedic mattress using a 0% interest, 1 year loan in 2007. We had the cash for fun to spend, but the loan was easy and I liked banking my 2-3% interest on my savings at the time. Plus, I wasn’t really planning on spending that $6000 on furniture, so I was hesitant to see it all go away in one fell swoop.
Or for an example of something completely splurgy, this last cruise we took was not a pre-planned vacation for this year. My in-laws booked a comparably cheap cruise, asked us if we’d like to go, and we said yes. Altogether, it was $1750 for it all.
Did the $1750 hit hurt? Maybe a tiny sting. We had $1400 set aside already for general fun, but we haven’t touched it. I just sort of rolled the $1225 charge in March and the recent $525 charges into our monthly spending. It will leave less extra to put aside for other things, but I refuse to pass up opportunities to have fun and memorable life experiences when we can afford it.
We’re also jumping into a cheap New Orleans birthday weekend with friends that popped up suddenly. It’ll be $500-ish, but again, I don’t live to work. I work, and work a TON, to live.
My Fun Money View
I guess that is my overall point. I have the general viewpoint that you should already be living your life – earning and spending – in a way that covers your now, your later, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that pop up in between. If I wasn’t making enough to do all of that, I would find ways because I’m stubborn and impatient. If I couldn’t earn more, I’d spend less. It’s just easier to earn more in my opinion.
My present, my future, and my life experiences along the way are tied in importance on my overall priority list.
The Magical Chairs
In the case of these $4000+ massage chairs, if each of my friends still want them after a month or two, they both could afford to buy them this year. Both of them earn enough to cover their present and future. Both of them could put the rest aside to buy the chairs…and that “rest” would cover the chair within 12 months.
Should they buy them? That’s completely their call since the trade-off with money is always personal. I’d want to spend the $4000 on two cruises with Mr. BFS instead, but they may prefer daily massage heaven. It does sound divine. And years of massage time is definitely more than 14 pampered days at sea. Hence these decisions being so personal.
How do you budget for expensive wants? What’s your personal idea of the perfect way to responsibly splurge an extra $4000?