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My Biggest Splurge Before FIRE


My Biggest Splurge Before FIRELast week, I picked up my new glasses and posted a picture on social media. A few sharp eyed readers commented that they loved the background. I replied it was a splurge before I discovered FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early.) Do you recognize the picture? It is Mrs. RB40’s favorite cartoon canine – Snoopy. The artwork is a limited edition, hand pulled, signed lithograph by Tom Everhart and is part of a set of three lithographs. He’s the only artist authorized by Charles Schultz to reproduce characters from the Peanuts comic. We love the artwork, but they were very expensive when we purchased them. Guess how much they cost and write it down. Don’t cheat and look it up on the internet yet. I’ll reveal the price a little later.

Here is the full set.

Snoopy Bora Bora Boogie Bored Down Everhart

Before I discovered FIRE

We purchased these lithographs in 2005. Both of us were doing very well at our full time jobs back then. I was 31 and felt invincible. I made good money, had a beautiful wife, lived in a brand new house, took international vacations, and drove a BMW convertible. Life was damn good. Even at that level of spending, we lived below our means. The cost of living was very reasonable in Oregon back then. We still had extra money left after we paid the bills, maxed out our retirement plans, and invested in a few stocks. I thought we could continue living the American dream until we’re old. Alas, that was the hubris of youth.

At the time, my engineering career was on a good trajectory. I worked hard and got regular promotions. The technical work was fun. I spent a lot of time at work, but that was normal. Most young engineers worked 50-60 hours per week with no overtime pay. Once I got more senior, the job wasn’t as enjoyable anymore. The company wanted me to take on more leadership role and I’m not good at that kind of thing. I was at the peak of my career in 2005. It was a gradual slide after that. Eventually, the job wasn’t the right fit for me anymore and I retired early from my engineering career.

Anyway, I was full of confidence in 2005. That year, we visited New Orleans with friends and had a great time. The food was awesome. We particularly enjoyed the oysters, beignets, and huge po-boy sandwiches. I’m not a big art fan, but we were on vacation so we walked through a few galleries near the French Quarter. Mrs. RB40 spotted these Snoopy lithographs and she fell in love with them. She didn’t want to buy them because they cost a lot of money, but I wanted to get her something really nice. Previously, I didn’t spend much money on gifts. We got married in 1999 at the county courthouse. I didn’t even get her an expensive diamond ring. She only had the $300 ring I gave her before she went off to Peace Corps in 1996. I was poor back then and it was all I could afford, but that’s another story.

I knew she loved Snoopy so I thought these would be the perfect gift to show my appreciation. The price was very expensive at $5,000 for the set, but what the heck. We were doing well financially and five grand wouldn’t break the bank. This was our biggest splurge before I discovered FIRE. We had a nice house and a sports car, but a place to live and transportation were necessities. This was a complete splurge because we didn’t need expensive artwork on the walls, though an interior designer might disagree. Luckily, I learned about FIRE a few years after this and we didn’t splurge on other high priced items.

So that’s how these Snoopy lithographs came into our home. How did you do on the price guessing? Close?

Artwork as investment

Did I regret buying these artworks? Somewhat. I didn’t know anything about art and I shouldn’t have made an impulse purchase like that. Now I know to wait a few days before buying anything. That’s one of the best frugal hacks anyone can do. If I had waited a few days, I probably would not have purchased these lithographs.

They made 500 of these lithograph prints in this edition and destroyed the plates. Unfortunately, I think 500 is too many. After 13 years, there are still many of these artworks in the shops. I did some research on the internet and it looks like the price is around $1,400 each from galleries.


They are a bit cheaper on the secondary market. I’ve seen one for as low as $1,100. We might have an edge because we have a set with the same numbers (#172/500.) The set probably could go for $4,500. Who knows? These are the only household items I have on my net worth spreadsheet.

As a comparison, if we invested $5,000 in the VFINX, it would have increased to nearly $15,000 today. Live and learn, I guess.

On the other hand, we have been enjoying these artworks for 13 years. Mrs. RB40 still loves them so in that regard, they have been good. Most of other the household items we purchased in 2005 are in the landfill by now.

“You better not be thinking of selling my Snoopies!” – Mrs. RB40 as I was taking pictures for this post.

No more big splurges

Fortunately, I learned about FIRE soon after this big splurge. Now, I avoid big ticket purchases and focus on investing. Having a financial goal really helps in that regard. I think most people spend aimlessly because they don’t have a solid financial goal.

Mrs. RB40 says this wasn’t an aimless purchase — it isn’t like we bought a ton of other lithos.

What about art as investments? I wouldn’t do it if you don’t know much about the art world. For $5,000, I learned that Lithographs are not good investment. That’s an expensive lesson. At least that was the only big splurge we had when we were young.

What was your biggest splurge? Have you purchased art before?

PS. The lithograph process is very neat. You can see how it’s done on YouTube.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 78 comments… add one }
  • Lily | The Frugal Gene February 22, 2018, 1:44 am

    “You better not be thinking of selling my Snoopies!”
    That cracked me up for some reason hahahaha xD probably because it sounds like my warning rattle to my husband. Hissssss….

    I remember this tweet but I didn’t notice the artwork until I saw the comments. Then I thought “omgosh, they’re so cute! Whatever they’re worth it’s adorable and worth it!”

    Now that I know they cost $5,000…get it insured mate!!

    (Nah!!) I still think it’s cute and if it makes wifey happy for this long, it’s definitely worth it. Plus, it’s not like they’re worth nothing. $4-5k resale is still really good! Art work can make great investments! (Find the 497 others and destroy them Joe! xD)

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 7:51 am

      At least I know not to sell them. 🙂 She’s very attached to them now.
      We have home insurance, but I’ve been procrastinating on this one. We need to send in paperwork to prove these are worth that much. I’ll put it on my to do list. 🙂

  • Jackal February 22, 2018, 2:10 am

    Hey Joe,

    New reader here. I would say that if the Mrs. still loves the artwork then it was a worthy purchase. I second guess a lot of things and think “well, how much could I have made off investments if I’d put that money in xyz.”

    Look forward to reading more of your content.


    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 7:52 am

      Thanks! She still love them so it’s been good that way. Happy wife happy life. 🙂

  • Michael @ Financially Alert February 22, 2018, 2:29 am

    Cool art, Joe. I can see why your wife loves them. Although enjoy art, I’ve never been one to splurge on it. I leave my splurging to epic meals like the French Laundry, or exotic travel like fishing in Panama.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 7:54 am

      I don’t think I can splurge this much again unless it has a good prospect of appreciation. You reminded me about food and travel. We splurged on those too, but much less now.

  • Team CF February 22, 2018, 2:47 am

    Nice art! We ended up doing the same thing, we bought some unique art in Hawaii (during our Honeymoon) by a local artist for about $4000. It was one of our biggest splurges, but it was also the first piece of art that both of us liked (we had been together about 9 years at that point). We went back 3 times before we decided to buy. Still no regrets, it’s still very cool to look at. It’s also part of our marriage, so it has sentimental value too.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 7:55 am

      That’s great. I assume it’s an original so it’ll have some value in the future. The sentimental value is great too. It’s a reminder of your honeymoon.

  • Ernie Zelinski February 22, 2018, 2:49 am

    You ask, “What was your biggest splurge? Have you purchased art before?”

    Let me answer the second question as I think about the first. In fact, I purchased two pieces of art. The first time was at a charity (One Child’s Village) auction run by my friend Todd. A work by Tessa Nunn (an artist from my hometown ) was being auctioned. I decided to get into the bidding just to get the price up but I wound up with the painting for a price of about $350. I never hung it up in my place and ended up giving it back to Todd to auction off at another year’s charity drive. The second piece of art I purchased about eight months ago from an artist friend T. who lives in Montreal. She was recovering from cancer and had financial problems. So, I emailed her and offered to purchase a piece of art that I really liked. She agreed to sell it and I paid her with a $500 Visa Gift Card. The piece of art is hanging on my living room now and I feel happy that I purchased it.

    Insofar as my biggest splurge, it will be when I purchase a Picasso for my run-down, in fact, falling-down garage (where I sometimes park my 1995 Camry). At the same time, I will still keep my artist friend’s $500 work on my living room wall.

    Just a note that an acquaintance of mine Jim Tindale from Vancouver was a friend of Charles Schultz. Jim met Schultz because Schultz had a NHL size hockey arena in California where he hosted old timer hockey games. Jim told me that Charles Schultz actually went by the nickname of “Sparky.” One more note: Check the latest figures for the most money earned by entertainers who have passed away and I believe that the estate of Charles Schultz earned somewhere around $38 million last year, the third highest for entertainers who have passed away. Give me his money and I will show you how to splurge in style!

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 7:56 am

      Those prices are more reasonable. I wouldn’t mind spending around $500 on a nice piece of art that I really like.
      Great story about Charles Schultz. Now, that’s passive income. Thanks.

  • Chris Urbaniak @ deliberatechange.ca February 22, 2018, 3:10 am

    Fun story, Joe! I’ve never bought art, but then again my wife is an artist, so her work adorns our walls… 🙂

    I wouldn’t say we “splurge” per se on anything big; that implies more-or-less impulse buying. We do splurge from time to time on smaller items (like ice cream!). And we’ve also spent more than we “needed” to on big ticket items likes house and cars because we thought we needed to, whereas we could have spent a lot less and still been just as happy.

    Like your household goods from 2005, our expensive-to-us car from around then is also in a landfill somewhere…

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 7:57 am

      That’s awesome. I would love to create art someday too. There is just no time right now. Someday…

  • Lady Dividend February 22, 2018, 3:46 am

    That is a lot, but I also think this art can serve as a reminder as to how you don’t want to spend your money. Art is a tricky investment to get right so I’m not surprised you won’t make money on the resale. Might as well enjoy the art :).

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 7:58 am

      I think art can be a good investment, but you have to know what you’re doing. Obviously, I don’t. 🙂

  • Dave @ Married with Money February 22, 2018, 4:41 am

    Oh I like them! $5k isn’t cheap but it’s not going to break the bank like you said. A client of my wife’s uncle is an art dealer and we got invited to his house. One of his pieces that we really liked was $465k and that was one of the less expensive things he had. Just crazy to me how much some artwork goes for!

    My biggest splurges are definitely technology related which honestly sucks because it declines in value so quickly. But when you play video games as much as I did, a good computer is necessary, and unfortunately they aren’t cheap.

    • Nicoleandmaggie February 22, 2018, 4:54 am

      After the house and the cars (and even more boring responsible things like insurance) it has to be technology stuff for us too. Either fancy computers or our video projector (which lasted a good 15 years before DH saved up his allowance to replace it). Also he spent 1k on an aeron chair (he bought mine used for about half the price).

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:00 am

      Wow, $465k. He must be super rich.
      I’m glad I never got into buying the latest and greatest tech. That’s an expensive hobby. 🙂

  • Brad - Financial Life Planning February 22, 2018, 4:54 am

    Of course as I read this I’m now thinking “Uh oh – I need to pay better attention to what is in the background of my pictures, because some people actually notice” 🙂

    I didn’t splurge before achieving FIRE, but three years *after* I hit FIRE my wife and I did buy a motorhome. It’s nice to be able to write out a six figure check without wrecking your financial future. Hopefully reaching that state is further encouragement to readers working hard toward their own FIRE goals!

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:02 am

      Right! I took that picture there because that’s the best wall in our home. It was neat to see that people notice these little things.
      I don’t know about an RV. It’s not Mrs. RB40’s thing so we probably won’t get into it. They are really expensive.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance February 22, 2018, 4:58 am

    Me me me. I think I was the first sharp eyed reader to notice the Snoopy haha. I feel so proud. The cute Snoopy was the second thing I noticed in the photo after your smiley face. I didn’t even notice your new glasses (oopsies!).

    I also bought some paintings from Amazon after we bought our first home. I don’t know the first thing about art, but I wanted to make our home look pretty. The most expensive one was $60, and I totally regret it. Mr. FAF had no interest in those paintings whatsoever.

    I thought your Snoopy paintings were $600 in total. I was way off haha. I think we all splurged at one point. Good memories!

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:03 am

      $60 is cheap. I think it’s good to add a little personality to your home. Having bare walls is too boring. 🙂

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify February 22, 2018, 5:08 am

    Hi Joe, I have made many questionable purchases over the years. Not so many anymore. I can relate to your attitude in 2005. We went through a similar phase when both of us were working full time. We didn’t think to much about dropping money on stuff. It’s nice that at least you have enjoyed this art. Like you say, most purchases end up in the garbage, basement or closet. Tom

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:04 am

      It was so easy to spend because we had money. Now, we invest first and don’t have as much cash sitting around. That made it much easier to avoid spending frivolously.

  • Accidental FIRE February 22, 2018, 5:13 am

    Those are awesome! I was the biggest Snoopy fan as a kid and had about 10 or 15 peanuts cartoon books. Still love watching that stuff.

    I’ve never bought art as an investment, and only have a few small original art pieces. My big splurges are on outdoor gear, including bikes and climbing equipment. None of it is an investment and it all gets used and abused. Although some classic bikes can go up in value over time. One of my old bikes might be in that category, but I’d rather ride it than treat it like a valuable antique.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:05 am

      Those outdoor gears are great purchases for you. That’s just you. And you get to use them all the time. Nice.

  • Pennypincher February 22, 2018, 5:23 am

    Your post popped open and I went “I love that Snoopy print!”
    I bet the artist is riding high being the only one allowed to produce it.
    LOL -on Mrs. RB40 saying not to sell her Snoopies!
    Can’t think of any splurges on my part. No regrets. : )

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:06 am

      Yeah, I think he is doing very well. His recent artworks are too abstract, though. Mrs. RB40 doesn’t like the new pieces. Thanks goodness. 🙂

      • Pennypincher February 22, 2018, 2:06 pm

        Lol! Guide her to IKEA for artwork next time! Then take a lunch break at the cafeteria there.

  • Chris @ Duke of Dollars February 22, 2018, 5:43 am

    I’ve never purchased expensive art, but have splurged on expensive dinners before. Very very rare, but very very delicious (Brazillian steakhouse comes to mind)

    Thanks for sharing !

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:07 am

      Yumm… We went to the French Laundry once. I think around 2005 too. It was a great experience, but we probably won’t repeat it anytime soon.

  • Mr. Freaky Frugal February 22, 2018, 5:53 am

    Oh man, I wish I had discovered FIRE sooner so that I would have FIREd years before I did. I can give a pretty long list of not-too-smart big purchases I made because I bought many expensive woodworking tools that I only used for a couple of years.

    “You better not be thinking of selling my Snoopies!” – Mrs. RB40 as I was taking pictures for this post.

    This made me laugh! My response would be “I’m thinking about it!” 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:08 am

      Me too. I would have been a lot more focused. It’s okay, though. We have some good memories.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire February 22, 2018, 6:03 am

    Those are actually really cool! I was actually a little high on the price I was guessing ($7,500 for the lot), so I guess you got a deal by my standards! 😉

    I’ve been very lucky – my uncle has made a living as an artist for newspapers and the like for decades. He produces some truly amazing paintings and has given me a number of them – some are major award winners! I love every one of them and have a couple hanging in my office at work and a few at home. The problem is that matting/framing them costs me anywhere from $200-400 each time!

    — Jim

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 8:10 am

      Wow, you are so lucky! We know some people who are related to artists too. Their homes are so neat. I should take up art, but I don’t have time right now. Someday…

  • [email protected] February 22, 2018, 6:20 am

    Thanks for sharing Joe. This purchase is not looking like a good investment. Still, it was not intended to be one. Based solely on the Mrs. saying that you better not sell it, I think it’s worked out okay. You have clearly enjoyed them.

    Would an extra few bucks really change your life today?

    I never purchased artwork for myself. I was gifted a custom-made painting for my wedding and it’s my favorite wedding gift. There is something special about meaningful art.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 1:25 pm

      That’s a great way to look at it. $15,000 would not change our lives today.
      The 3 Snoopy prints make us happy every day. Sometime Mrs. RB40 is right. 🙂

  • Steve @ familyonfire.org February 22, 2018, 6:56 am

    We have some art around our house, mainly bought from local artists while we were living overseas. We don’t regret them, it brightens up the house and reminds us of our adventures.

    FIRE is all very well, but if you have to sit in a drab house all day then that can be kind of depressing.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 1:27 pm

      I got a few pieces for free from local artists. They are neat, but strange. Mrs. RB40 knows what she likes.

  • Kiki February 22, 2018, 7:00 am

    I so wanted to purchase (I mean invest) in Tom Everhart’s art after reading the beginning part of your post. Can you say impulse buy?? I looked up his website, checked out his twitter feed, found his Facebook page 🙂 I so totally fell in love with all his art! Your prints look fantastic on your wall!! Then I got to the part about investing $5000 in VFINX back in 2005 that would be $15000 today… I was quickly slapped back to reality! But I totally love those prints!! Thanks for the post 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 1:30 pm

      His artworks are so cool. Mrs. RB40 loves the old style artworks. His new works are too abstract for her.
      I’m sure you can buy a nice poster for under $100. I’m not sure if they are authorized, though. Probably not.

  • Adam February 22, 2018, 7:12 am

    I saw one and I thought “Oh, $500.” Then I saw three and figured “okay, $1,500.” Heh. Oops.

    Art is important! My degree is in music performance, so I may have a more skewed perspective than most in favor of the artist. I’ve lucked out with a few snaps of the camera, so on our walls hang mostly canvas-mounted photographs of what brings us joy: the Scottish highlands on our honeymoon, the first hints of daylight on Opening Day for rockfish on the shore of the Chesapeake, an old bicycle leaning against a building in France, a fun perspective of phone booths in London.

    I try to make it a point to capture something worth hanging every time we travel. I’ve neglected to actually have them printed the last couple of years. Thanks for the reminder!

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 1:31 pm

      I should make some prints of our photographs too. I’m sure there are some that are worthy. That’s a great idea.

  • Lazy Man and Money February 22, 2018, 7:31 am

    I was half right on the price of the Snoopies :-/.

    I think it’s worth considering setting aside some money each year for “happy stuff.” I’d view it as no-questions-asked spending. It could be buying a bunch of plastic balls to turn a room into a giant ball pit. (That’s a real thing that I’ll write about later today.)

    I don’t know if it needs to be $5000, but everyone can decide what is right for them and their plans/budget.

    Joe, I’m curious, what would be your version of the Snoopies. Maybe the kayak that you mentioned quite awhile ago?

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 1:32 pm

      Good idea about the “happy stuff” fund. I might have to start one for myself. 🙂
      A kayak would be awesome, but we don’t have any space to put it. It will have to be delayed until we have more space.

  • Aaron February 22, 2018, 7:46 am

    This is a fun post and interesting to hear about your foray into art buying! 🙂 Yeah, it’s a more risky endeavor. I’ve dabbled in it a bit – being an artist myself. It’s fun to find pieces on Craigslist that are going for cheap and then just hold them (which my wife isn’t too pleased about). Money is probably better spent in investments however.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 1:33 pm

      Really? That’s very interesting. I’ll check Craigslist. I didn’t think they have much artworks on there. Hopefully, I won’t spend a lot of time on this…

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early February 22, 2018, 7:56 am

    Considering she still loves the pieces 13 years later, I’d say it was the right decision. As someone who grew up around art, artists are woefully under appreciated 99% of the time, so I have a hard time begrudging them a paycheck. And really, I bet you blew well more than that 5k on stuff you can’t even remember now – versus the artwork this is something still loved and enjoyed today.

    • retirebyforty February 22, 2018, 1:35 pm

      We weren’t exposed to art at all when I was a kid. My parents were too busy making a living. We never went to museum, theater, musical, or anything. I’m glad Mrs. RB40 brings more culture into my life.

  • FullTimeFinance February 22, 2018, 7:57 am

    Not an art person. The art on our walls was either made as gifts by a relative who is an artist or made by our kids. That being said everyone has a different thing. I’d say the splurge left you none he worse for wear and still makes your wife happy. In that respect it has a leg up on most people’s splurges.

    My only splurge still remains my Corvette. Ten years on.

  • Mr. Tako February 22, 2018, 7:57 am

    Wow, that’s quite a splurge Joe. I’ve never purchased art and wouldn’t even know where to begin. We keep photos and the kid’s artwork on our walls.

    My “high” guess for your prints was $1000. Boy was I way off!

    It’s probably good for the soul to own something precious. 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:39 am

      Heh heh, I’m picturing Mrs. RB40 in the corner whispering “my precious…”

  • freddy smidlap February 22, 2018, 7:58 am

    mrs. smidlap is an artist so i am lucky to have her work on most of our walls. about 10 years ago an oral surgeon bought 5 large painting from her that were hanging in a local restaurant and she came home with an envelope full of cash money and a lot of it. we always had day jobs and i kept my overtime money and her art money separate to enjoy as we wished (i ended up investing most of both for us). the splurge off this sale was a genuine tempur-pedic mattress. we were getting in our early 40 and a little achy in the joints so this expensive splurge has been paying us back for years.

    i’m glad you bought that royal st. art. i have a couple from street artists in new orleans for 50 or 60 bucks that are now relegated to the bathroom.

    my friend phil t. was on that intel campus in portland as a chip designer and he’s about your age.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:40 am

      That’s great! We really need a new mattress, but I’m waiting until we move (in a year or two.) We’ll just toss this mattress when the time comes.

  • DocG February 22, 2018, 7:59 am

    Ha! One of my Side Hustles years ago was selling art work like this to people like you online at a discount. I talk about it on one of my early blog posts (don’t want to spam you by linking).

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:41 am

      Used? That sounds like a good side hustle.

      • Doc G February 23, 2018, 9:21 am

        Not used. New art work directly from publishers and artists. I moved a few hundred thousands in a few years (small profits though-was more for fun).

  • Olivia @ birds of a fire February 22, 2018, 8:10 am

    There was a purchase of an expensive handbag… but it has kept pace with the stock market due to price increases… I like to buy appreciating luxury goods occasionally haha. It’s my “excuse”.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:41 am

      Ahh… That was Mrs. RB40’s splurge for a few years. I’m really glad she got over that phase.

  • Mikey February 22, 2018, 9:50 am

    Splurged on a new sports car in 2013. $20,000 down and 2 years of $450 monthly. Not to mention insurance. I’ve spent the last 2 years in a somewhat temporary retirement. Traded the fast car in on a corolla. I actually like the cheaper car better. Like you said “Live and learn.”

  • Rene Mercer February 22, 2018, 10:15 am

    Thanks for sharing, great information

  • Marc February 22, 2018, 11:06 am

    That’s a great story! Thanks for sharing it. I’m not really into art so I’ve never purchased any expensive items (most of the photos on my wall are my own photos). My biggest splurge was probably the $6,000 spent on a whole house water filter. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, and I don’t regret it because I think it helps prolong the life of dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater, plus our water was really bad without that filter.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:42 am

      Whole house water filter sounds like a good purchase. I guess it depends on where you live. Our water is pretty good here.

  • Helen February 22, 2018, 5:10 pm

    Cool story. When people are young, the brains are wired differently. Almost 20 years ago, after buying my first house, I bought a car using a car loan. That was a stupid mistake. The interest rate was 8.5%, not a good time to borrow. I really should keep driving the old car for another 3-5 years. Lessons learnt, in a hard way.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:44 am

      I wonder if you’re right. It seems older people make dumb purchases too. I think there are many other factors too.

  • Solitary Diner February 22, 2018, 5:23 pm

    My biggest splurge was spending about $4,000 on camera equipment as a medical student. While I could have gotten away with a lot less, the camera itself was a great purchase, as I have taken tens of thousands of photos in the past 10 years. Maybe hundreds of thousands?

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:45 am

      Wow, $4,000 is a lot of money. I want a nice new camera too, but I’m going to hold off for now. As long as my old Canon is working, I’ll keep it. Technology improves too fast.

  • Dianna Carlton February 22, 2018, 6:58 pm

    Love the lithograph art! When partners, like my husband and I, who do not have similar decorating taste, find something decorative which they both agree on, it is a well-made purchase. When painting the interior of our home, we literally had to divide the rooms in the house 50-50 and each of use picked the paint colors for our half of the house.

    You asked, “What was your biggest splurge? Have you purchased art before?” We are not art fanatics in any sense. We prefer to hang photographs of vacation destinations we have visited. But what we have splurged on, has been education. My husband and I both have our doctoral degrees, but we are willing to pay for collections of information rather than spending the time and effort to sift through lots of useless data to find the information we need or want. Have I regretted those purchases? Sometimes. But then again, they got us to where we are today, so they weren’t necessarily bad purchases.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2018, 8:46 am

      50-50 with paint colors? That sounds a little crazy.
      You two must have strong opinions. 🙂
      The photographs are a great idea. We have a ton of photos too.

  • FIRECracker February 23, 2018, 10:59 am

    I guessed $3000 each, so you actually paid less than I thought 🙂 I have a friend who bought similar types of art for $3000 for 1, so in that sense, you’re getting a deal 😉

    But, yeah, no way would I ever think of art as a serious “investment”. Too fickle and too speculative. People’s tastes change too quickly.

    But hey, if you could afford and your SO enjoyed it, why not? One time mistakes like that won’t really destroy your finances. It’s the repeated costs, or throwing everything you have at one speculative stock that could destroy you.

    My biggest splurges while we were working was on travel. I don’t regret it one bit. It probably slowed down our time to retirement, but since I was minimizing costs on everything else, it didn’t change it too much.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2018, 8:46 am

      I think $3,000 is the retail price back then. Now, you’ll see something like the image in the post.
      Discount to $1,500 from $3,000. The full retail price is pretty crazy.
      We travel too, but I don’t consider that a splurge. It’s a necessity. 🙂

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life February 23, 2018, 11:06 am

    We’re still before FIRE so anything expensive that we buy now goes on that list! Previously it was my diamond engagement ring but PiC bought that himself without my input. Together, I’m tempted to say our house because it was $$$$ but at the same time, it wasn’t on impulse or purely for fun, it was functional. Still, they were big purchases in my book, no matter who was responsible 🙂

    We’ve never bought any expensive art, at least nothing that’s cost more than $20 a piece, that I can recall. We’re not really into displaying a lot of art or other expensive things, so the biggest splurges we might make around or before FIRE may be travel. Possibly! There are no plans for it, anyway.

  • Kevin February 24, 2018, 9:28 am

    You did not buy them as an investment….you bought them as gift out of love for your wife. I would argue that the 10k in lost investment was more than made up in enjoyment in the past and future…..

  • Drew Johnson February 24, 2018, 10:13 am

    I don’t splurge too often, but when I do it’s always on books! However, I am a sucker for beautiful artwork haha! I don’t think I could ever spend over $500 though. I guess we all splurge on our passions.

  • Mr. MFC | Morning Fresh Cent February 24, 2018, 11:59 pm

    Your wife is still enjoying those lithos after 13+ years, so I would say that is a great investment. A splurge well spent. On the flip side, you could have be purchasing several items totalling the same or more but then those items end up in the round file after a year.

    The new glasses looks good on you. My wife is an optometrist and she approves it. ?

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2018, 8:46 am

      Thanks. She think it’s well spent too. 🙂
      Nice to hear an optometrist approves.

  • David @iretiredyoung February 25, 2018, 3:04 am

    It sounds like a decent purchase to me. Mrs RB40 is happy, and they are still worth close to what you paid.

    I can’t think of big purchases that I regret, but if I could have my time again, it would be the mindless spending that I would try to avoid – the $100 or this or $200 on that – things that we bought because we had the money in our pockets and not because they were things that we really wanted. Since finding the concept of FIRE, one of the things that I particularly enjoy is the thoughtfulness that I now have in my spending. We still sometimes spend quite a lot, but it will be on something that is important to us.

    Nice glasses by the way ?

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2018, 8:48 am

      I think you’re right. Those $100 purchases are all gone now.
      Mindful spending really helps with controlling those.

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