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What are your Costly Pleasures?

Last updated by on 20 Comments

Frugality is great, and it can take you a long ways towards reaching your financial and life goals, however, there are some things in life that we absolutely throw frugality out the window for. These are things that we value beyond the price tag because of the pure enjoyment that they bring to our lives. Notice that I didn’t title the post ‘costly GUILTY pleasures’ – there are just times when you shouldn’t feel guilty about spending extra money on the things that you love.

There are two categories that I generally don’t skimp on (which I’ll get to in a minute). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still always looking for the best deal or for ways to keep my expense as low as possible without sacrificing quality.  But I generally pay more than I probably should for these things:

1. Food

food and moneyA few weeks back, I highlighted the 6 food characteristics that I’m not willing to sacrifice for cost savings. Taste is an underrated sensation. And I want to eat healthy food that is also ethically sound. I just can’t ever see myself sacrificing my favorite foods to save a few bucks.

2. Sporting Hobbies

There are four sports that I’m pretty passionate about and I’m willing to pay top dollar for the best goods:

Disc Golf: I’ve highlighted how to play disc golf on 20somethingfinance before. It’s an addictive and wonderfully frugal sport (most courses are free to play). The discs themselves cost about $10-$15. And I have a ton. I carry about 5 drivers, 2 mid-range discs, and two putters. And a top of the line bag. But since I get out once a week and don’t have to pay to play, I don’t feel a bit guilty.

Tennis: Tennis is another gloriously cheap sport. A new pack of balls every month and new strings once a year, and you’re good to go. Except – when you need a new racket. Good rackets can cost in the upwards of $300. And in my opinion, they are worth every penny.

Cycling: I have one of those goofy hybrid bikes, but my Tour de France obsession has be clamoring for a shiny new road bike. I know that I’d get a lot of use out of it, and it’s a very healthy activity (if you don’t get hit). When I do get a new road bike, it’s going to take a nice chunk out of my bank account.

ultralight backpackingUltralight Backpacking: This is my Achilles heal of costly guilty pleasures. As I highlighted in my REI review (which is why I got the REI membership to save 10% on gear), ultralight backpacking is incredibly expensive. In my latest spending binge, I have been able to cut the weight of my tent and sleeping bag more than in half. I expect to do the same with my bag. But those upgrades certainly haven’t been cheap. However, when I’m able to hike twice as far and twice as fast because I don’t feel like I’m dragging a little person around on my back, then the added expense will definitely come to fruition as money well spent.

Costly Pleasure Discussion:

But enough about me. I want to hear what your costly pleasures are (guilty or not). Please share with everyone!

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I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • M Denis says:

    I guess mine would be travel. They don’t necessarily have to be vacations (those are nice too). Even getting together with my family or wife’s family is good enough for me (both of our families live across the country from us).

  • Paul says:

    For those that read the comments, you all know I have perhaps the worst costly pleasure of all: Cars.

    I manage to purchase cars that serve daily driving and pleasure driving well, but I still spend more than I should on gas and accessories.

  • Julie says:

    For me, it’s definitely food. No matter how much my boyfriend and I say we’re going to cut back on going out, we find it difficult to sacrifice. We have most of our spending under control though, and I certainly am not going into debt because of my love of going out to eat.

  • Julie says:

    Mine is skydiving. I have cut back in other areas (e.g., shopping, dining out, etc.) in order to be able to still save while engaging in my costly habit. For me, it’s a stress-reliever so I want to be able to spend freely without stressing about it.

  • Julie says:


    I know how to cook, but I’m not really a fan of home-cooking. I never enjoyed it and I just like the whole experiance of going out to eat, and I like the way resturants make my food.

    In addition, if I were to cook, I’d be making food for 1, and I find that the initial investment is more than it’s worth. Recently I was going to make my boyfriend and I lobster mac and cheese, and I realized it would cost me about $15, which is actually the price we paid for it when we went out a few days ago. Sure, we would have had 3 days of leftovers, but I’m not a fan of leftovers. I’ve been spoiled by my grandmother, aka personal chief who cooked food fresh for me the moment I requested it until I was 14.

  • Siri says:

    Photography! Purely a hobby so not necessary at all … but definitely do not mind spending the $$ on new equipment!

  • Paul says:

    Julie – take some cooking classes. You will find that you make your investment back quickly as you won’t want to go out anymore when you can make the same thing (but better!) at home.

  • Philip says:

    Mountain biking and Road Cycling. The mountain biking is taking my major investment right now, just got a new bike. Then to make it worth while I compete in races that can be $30-40 entry fee then all the travel and place to stay etc that go with it.

    Disc Golf is fun when I have time and can get a few people to go out and play with me, quite a few courses around my area.

  • Budgeting in the Fun Stuff says:

    For me it’s vacations…I like to go on two or three vacations a year for about $2000-$3000 total.

    For hubby, it’s Curling and Magic: The Gathering. He pays about $130 for 6 week Curling leagues plus $150 shoes and a $100 broom. He also buys $75-$110 boxes of Magic cards a few times a year.

  • nate says:

    Photography, motorcycles, and worst of all flying lessons. Technology takes a 2nd tier, but I learned to want what I have not want what I dont.

  • FinanceFreak says:

    Gold — but Glen Beck made me buy it.

  • Seska says:

    Mine is film photography. I like to pick up old gear at swap meets, on Craig’s List, and on eBay if I find good deals. Then I use the gear until the novelty wears off and then sell it and get more new (old) gear. So, I guess it all evens out in the end eventually, except for the cost of film (which I develop myself in my bathroom, which really cuts down on the cost). :)

  • Julie says:

    Photography, motorcycles, and worst of all flying lessons.

  • Jen says:

    traveling, the more places i go the more addicted i get. i figure though…i have to get in a lot of it now before i decide to have kids and it becomes more difficult :)

  • Nancy says:

    For me and probably for most women is what I call wife/girlfriend maintenance expense. Which includes mani/pedi, waxing, facials, beauty products,etc. Sure I can cut back, but at what expense? Confidence? Guilty. =)

  • Aury (Thunderdrake) says:

    One of my biggest doodads is probably alcohol. I’m a bit of a connoisseur of that stuff and a big time sweet-tooth cocktail buff. But given the alcohol prices here in Canada, that can get pretty expensive. I don’t have a whole lot of material desires beyond fruity cocktails.

    Thankfully I never spend on this. Because every time I do, the first instinct that hums to mind?

    “How can I acquire assets that will pay for my vice?”

    I love having that mindset. XD

  • Natalie says:

    Sushi is my greatest weakness.

  • CR says:

    Dance (Ballet) lessons, gym membership, running club membership, half marathon expenses (shoes, entree fee, running clothes). I mostly justify it by claiming these things as “long term health expenses” (which is somewhat true).

  • Bowie says:

    Single malt scotch. Since I live in Canada, excise tax on alcohol is around 50%, making any decent 750 mL bottle of single malt scotch anywhere from $50~$80. Heck, even Johnnie Walker Black Label costs $50 per bottle.


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