10 Money Diarists Reflect On Their Most Expensive Purchases

As we know from Money Diaries, we all have our unique styles when it comes to saving and spending money. Some people are partial to money-saving apps that do (some of) the work, others use piggy banks, and some are ready to hit purchase on the cart that’s been filled for days as soon as that direct deposit hits.

These habits doesn’t necessarily have to do with salary: Sometimes, a diarist with an entry level salary one-third of what our highest-paid diarists earn is the most willing to shell out cash on beauty products or morning coffee. The bottom line is: Everyone has a different idea of what’s worth spending on and what they can afford — be it a fresh pair of Gucci loafers, a honeymoon, or a home. We don’t judge! But the interesting thing to know is why these purchases were worth the hard-earned cash.

Ahead, some recent Money Diarists tell us their biggest purchases, why they bought them, and — most importantly — how they feel about them now.

During the week of her Money Diary, this 25-year-old copywriter in Shanghai spent money on acupuncture and cupping and prepared for her upcoming wedding.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“To be honest, I have probably spent an average of $1,200 twice a year on flights home to the U.S., and I don’t think twice about it, because in my mind it’s mandatory that I see my family that often. Besides these international flights, my most expensive purchase to date was a one night stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. One night in a basic room, with no breakfast included, was $600. (I’m 25, and this is a lot of money for me — okay?!)”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“I had been living in Singapore for about a year and a half and had planned on moving to a new country soon. My boyfriend (now husband) and I decided that we couldn’t leave Singapore without staying in this hotel and swimming in their epic infinity pool (and getting a sweet picture of it for the ‘gram #sorrynotsorry). Despite having a beautiful apartment down the road from this magnificent hotel, I treated us to a one night staycation. I was basically living paycheck to paycheck in Singapore, so I just splurged on a whim and tried to avoid looking at my bank balance as much as possible that month.”

Did you have buyer’s remorse?

“I had mentally prepared for this staycation for months, so I didn’t have any buyer’s remorse from it. However, during our stay, I did think to myself, ‘Wow, I just paid $600 to essentially swim in a pool and sleep in a comfy bed.'”

Was it worth it?

“It was absolutely worth it. The view from that hotel is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

In her Money Diary, this business analyst in Houston, TX, was in a cookie bake-off competition and had a no-spend day, something she tries to do once a week.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“The most expensive purchase I have ever made was on an IRO jacket that I bought at Harrods when I was living in London a few years ago. It was 475 GBP, which is about $611.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“I was out shopping for a new jacket, but I did not intend to spend near that amount of money. I had money in the bank to cover the purchase, but I did not actively save up for this purchase.”

Did you have buyer’s remorse?

“I think initially I had a bit of buyer’s remorse. I did not (and still don’t) regularly drop hundreds of dollars on clothing items, but I think living in London made me a bit more materialistic. I felt like I was surrounded by people with beautiful things — clothing, handbags, jewelry — and I wanted to step up my game. I did consider returning the jacket, but I truly loved it. It made me feel gorgeous and powerful.”

Was it worth it?

“I definitely think it was worth it. It may not have been the wisest decision at the time, but I still own the jacket and get the same rush when wearing it. It will be a piece I cherish forever.”

In her Money Diary, this digital marketing specialist in Petaluma, CA,  spent money on a wine tasting at a local winery with her boyfriend and friends.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“My most expensive purchase was my dog — not up front, but over time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my dog, but getting a dog is expensive in a lot of ways. We got him as a puppy from some people on Craigslist for $100 (sounds like a good deal right?). First day’s vet visit cost $250 because he was not being taken care of and was really sick, and then we had to go to the vet every few weeks to get him all his puppy shots, and will continue taking him to the vet at least once a year. Each visit is ~$100.

“Since he’s got a lot of energy, he needs a yard to run and play, so instead of living in an apartment that would cost $1,500/month, we rent a house with a yard for almost $3,000/month. All the little things add up (higher rent, food, toys, vet visits, medicine, etc.).”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“My boyfriend and I had been thinking about getting a dog for a couple years, so it wasn’t impromptu, but we didn’t fully realize how much having a dog would cost, especially when renting.”

Did you have buyer’s remorse?

“No, but my advice if you’re thinking about getting a dog: wait until you own a home! If you have a small dog, you can probably get away with an apartment, but most will not allow dogs, or they require an additional deposit. Renting with bigger dogs means you can’t live in a cheap apartment without a yard. You’ll end up paying the premium to make sure your dog can have a happy life.”

Was it worth it?

“Even if he’s expensive, my dog makes me so happy, and getting him was soooo worth it.”

In her Money Diary, this media strategist in Hoboken, NJ, spent money on a clothing subscription box and celebrated her birthday at dinner with friends.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“The most expensive purchase I ever made was a 10-day solo trip to Spain that I took last year. I spent five days in Barcelona and five days in Madrid. Factoring in flight, hotels, transportation, and money spent while there (on food, drinks, tours and activities), the total cost came to about $3,000.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“It was a little bit of both. A few months earlier, I had gone through an ugly breakup with my then-boyfriend who I was living with. Post-breakup, I moved back home into my mom’s house for the first time in a long time while I figured out my living situation. I saved a ton of money, as I wasn’t paying rent/utilities living at home, but I wasn’t saving specifically for a trip. At the time, I was incredibly heartbroken and just going through a really rough patch. So one random day (after a particularly stressful day at work), I decided I deserved to treat myself, and I just booked the flight!

Do you have buyer’s remorse?

“Not one bit. I’ve always been very much a saver, and never make any crazy expensive or spur-of-the-moment purchases like this. Travel is something that I’ve always been passionate about, so I decided to spare absolutely no expense for this trip — I booked Airbnbs in the hot-spot neighborhoods, ate and drank every single thing I wanted, and did every tour/saw every sight that I wanted to.”

Was it worth it?

“Absolutely. I know it sounds corny, but a solo-vacation to a foreign country was exactly what I needed to ‘find myself’ in the aftermath of my failed relationship — I met incredible people from other countries (some of whom I still keep in touch with!), ate the most delicious food I’ve ever had, saw incredible sights, and just had a great amazing trip overall.”

In this Money Diary, a marketing coordinator in Los Angeles, CA, spent money on vegan potato tacos from Taco Bell and went to a Drag Queen-themed spin class.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“My most expensive purchase was going to Burning Man. I didn’t live in Los Angeles yet, so the whole thing involved: tickets and a car pass (which I got at a discount through the Low Income Ticket Program), round-trip flight to L.A. to meet up with my friend who was also going, camp fees, gas for the drive there, and supplies. You can’t buy things once you’re there, so ‘supplies’ included food and water for seven days. It cost me about $1,400.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“I applied for a Low Income ticket on a whim. I was 22 and I’d just left my corporate job and moved to Texas where I was waiting tables. If I’m being candid, I was severely depressed at the corporate job. Even though I knew I needed to leave that job for my own mental health, I felt ashamed for quitting. I was feeling really lost and needed something to look forward to, so I decided to go to Burning Man. I saved up for months while simultaneously saving to move somewhere new to start over. It was an overwhelmingly messy time in my life. I look back and feel a tinge of pride that I made it through.”

Do you have buyer’s remorse?

“No. Absolutely not. That trip was life-changing for me. Not in a ‘I went to the desert, took LSD, and saw God’ kind of way, but in a ‘You can get through this and be okay again’ way. I met some of my best friends at Burning Man that year and they gave me the confidence and courage to finally crawl out of my depression hole. I hadn’t felt fun or funny in months, but the people I met through my camp saw value in me. They made me feel like myself again. Wow, I’m getting a little emotional even thinking about it.”

Was it worth it?

“It was completely worth it. I’m stressed out now just thinking about what a financial strain it was, but I’d do it all over again. The day I flew home from that trip, I used my newfound confidence to apply for the job that eventually brought me to California. I’m trying to say this in the least dramatic way possible, but had I not gone on that trip — I wouldn’t live in L.A., I wouldn’t know the majority of my closest friends, and I probably wouldn’t be as happy as I am with my life right now. It wasn’t even about Burning Man as a place or event. It was about me finding a way to hit the reset button on my relationship with myself. In retrospect, it’s wild that I even felt the urge to apply for those tickets in the first place. None of my friends had ever even gone to Burning Man, and most didn’t even know what it was. I just had a gut feeling that I needed to go, and the rest is history!”

In this Money Diary, an executive recruiter in Austin, TX, bought herself new Vince Camuto boots and got stood up at the dog park by a Bumble BFF match.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“My most expensive purchase to date is my Mazda sedan, which I bought when I moved from New York City to Los Angeles. I made a $3,000 down payment and financed $17,000, but I’m going to end up paying around $21,000, due to interest.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“Once I knew that we were moving to L.A., I decided to buy a car, and saved up enough money for what I thought was a hefty down payment.”

Do you have buyer’s remorse?

“I definitely do. I moved to L.A. with my boyfriend for his new job, and we thought he’d be driving into an office every day. I work from home, but I bought a car so that I’d be able to run errands and visit with friends while he was at work. Three months after the move, his position transitioned to full-time remote, and we definitely didn’t need two cars.

“I’ve owned the car for two years now, and it has less than 9,000 miles on it. It would be even lower if we hadn’t driven from L.A. to Austin, TX, when we moved here last December. I’m still making payments on the car, though I’ve really buckled down on paying off debt this year, and should pay it off nearly two years early this July. I really let my emotions get the better of me with this purchase. I was so excited for the freedom of having a car after living in NYC for almost five years, that I didn’t really think it through.”

Was it worth it?

“Yes and no. The car is very nice and incredibly reliable. At the rate that I use it, I could drive it for the next decade without hitting 100,000 miles. In that sense, it’s a good value. However, I’d much rather have avoided the ‘stupid tax’ in the form of interest on my auto loan. Not paying for a car payment/gas/insurance for the last two years would have made a big difference on my overall financial situation. Plus, I’ve learned that my car is really too small for what I want to do with it. When my family visits, they can’t all fit comfortably in the back seat, and I plan on getting a second, larger dog. I wish I’d purchased an SUV instead of a sedan.”

This communications manager in Glendale, CA, spends her Money Diary reading parenting books and buying things for her nursery in preparation for the birth of her baby.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“A new King-size bedroom set and mattress that we bought when I was pregnant with my son. One of my friends works at a mattress store, so we were able to buy our mattress and sheets at a major discount. Our bed and dresser are the matching dark gray Hemnes set from IKEA. Altogether, the furniture, mattress, and bedding came out to about $2,500. Before that, my husband and I were sleeping in the Queen-size bed he had since high school. When we moved in together, we were saving up for our wedding, so we re-stained his bed and dresser ourselves to avoid buying new stuff.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“We had been talking about buying a new ‘grown up’ bedroom set for a while, but it wasn’t a priority. With my pregnancy support pillows taking up most of the bed and our 60-pound dog who loves to hop in bed with us, there was barely any room left for my husband. It was definitely time for an upgrade.

“We hadn’t specifically saved up for a new bedroom set, but we do have a savings account dedicated to miscellaneous big purchases that might pop up, like this one.”

Do you have buyer’s remorse?

“When the mattress arrived, it felt a lot softer than I remembered it being at the store, but we decided to try it out for a few days. But then the holidays happened, and our baby was born, and we never got around to reevaluating if the mattress was the right firmness before the return window expired. I still think it’s too soft (while my husband thinks it’s perfect), so I’m having a bit of buyer’s remorse. It probably wasn’t a good idea to buy a new mattress while I was pregnant.”

Was it worth it?

“The size upgrade was definitely worth it; it feels so luxurious to be able to stretch out as much as we want and also have our dog and baby in there with us. But I wish we had spent a little more time and effort making sure the mattress was a better fit for my preference, because it’s something we’re going to keep for the next decade, and having the right amount of support is essential for preventing back pain. At least for now I have an excuse to indulge in more massages, so there’s a bright side.”

In this Money Diary, a service coordinator in NYC spends most of her money on clothing and makeup. She has a skincare obsession and a Sephora VIB Rouge card to prove it.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“My most expensive purchase was my Givenchy Small Antigona leather satchel. It was $2,290, before tax. My mom loves it and asks how much I paid for it, but I’ll never tell her since she would probably murder me, lol.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“It was a bit of both. I tend to be careful with my spending and I work VERY hard for my money. But I’d been wanting a designer bag for so long, and I finally found the perfect one, so why not?”

Do you have buyer’s remorse?

“Initially I was like, ‘Whoa, this is f**king ridiculous, I can’t believed I really paid this much for a bag.’ After that, I fell in love with it. It makes ANY outfit look amazing and I get compliments on it all the time.”

Was it worth it?

“YES. It’s my go-to bag. I know this will sound vain, but when you walk into any place with a designer bag, that place turns into your runway. It’s an amazing feeling.”

This children’s librarian in Cleveland, OH, spent her money during the week of her Money Diary on B12 supplements, a garlic press, and two tanks of gas.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“A road bike in the summer of 2014, which was about $950.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“I bought it on layaway, giving the bike shop $200-$300 whenever I could. I finally took it home with me about three months after I first saw it. I bought it because my boyfriend at the time was a cyclist, and I wanted to be able to ride with him.”

Do you have buyer’s remorse?

“I occasionally have buyer’s remorse, because I’ve ridden it maybe 10 times in four years. I keep saying this will be the year I get out and ride it, and I even bought one of those stands to make it into a stationary bike so I can ride it indoors during the winter. We’ll see if I actually follow through on riding it outdoors.”

Was it worth it?

“Yes, because I’d really like to be a person who cycles regularly. But I’m also sort of terrified of riding it on the actual road, even if it’s just a small stretch that connects trails.”

This deputy director in Silicon Valley wrote in her Money Diary about how she and her husband sleep on a mattress on the floor because they aren’t ready to buy a bed as expensive as what they ultimately want.

What was your most expensive purchase, and how much was it?

“The most expensive purchase I’ve ever made was my three-week honeymoon to Europe. It was a little under $16,000 altogether, including airfare, trains, hotels, restaurants, and tours.”

Was it impromptu, or did you save up for it?

“It was the opposite of impromptu, as you might have guessed from the London planning in my Diary. I meticulously researched everything we did, from hotels to tours to restaurants. I knew approximately how much the trip would cost ahead of time, and we were fully prepared.”

Do you have buyer’s remorse?

“We save pretty effectively most of the time, so we made a conscious decision to spend a chunk of our savings on this trip. We didn’t travel much in our 20s, so we decided to do and eat everything we wanted to in Europe. We spent almost no money on shopping, however. Every expense was experience-related. I have no buyer’s remorse.”

Was it worth it?

“With the exception of one tour guide who I didn’t like much (he only took up six hours of our three-week trip), I loved our honeymoon. It was worth every penny.”

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