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Inspired by Mrs. Frugalwoods’s post, today I will share with you the seven surprisingly pricey items (by our frugal standards) Mr. FAF and I have bought.
We have made some expensive purchases in our lives such as our house and our car.
In this post, however, I will exclude those items and focus on the things we use in our daily lives.
Mr. FAF and I are a frugal couple, so keep reading to see what we have splurged on and whether those purchases are worth the money.
1. Professional camera – $650
Before Mr. FAF and I got married, Mr. FAF decided to purchase a $650 professional Sony camera.
I tried to talk him out of it, but Mr. FAF insisted that he wanted to document all the special moments of our family life with a high quality camera.
I was touched that Mr. FAF thought so far ahead and was willing to spend more than half $1,000 on a camera for our family.
However, I also thought it was a waste of money, and that a phone camera could do the trick.
Mr. FAF went ahead and purchased the item.
We wanted to use it to take pictures of when we got our marriage license in a law office.
But we were just so excited that we totally forgot about the camera.
Our friends took pictures of us with their phones and sent us the photos afterwards. Over the next year, we ended up using the camera 3-4 times for two main reasons.
First, the camera was heavy. We started to dread dragging it around. Sometimes we didn’t even know that we would have a special moment somewhere to take the camera with us.
Second, we honestly didn’t know how to use the camera properly and were too lazy to learn. I have absolutely no interest in photography, and neither does Mr. FAF.
We put the Sony camera in the closet and used our phone cameras, which were both light, convenient, and had good quality. We later gave the camera to my sister, who expressed an interest in photography and inheriting the camera from us.
Related: 10 Expensive Things That Are Worth The Money
2. 3-D video game system – $349
Mr. FAF always tells me about one of his childhood obsessions: video games. He likes recounting stories of how he and his cousin bonded over video games and how those games kept him company prior to his dating life, which started when he was 22.
Mr. FAF also likes to teach Baby FAF to play video games one day (in moderation of course). Ever since I can remember (maybe 3-4 years ago), Mr. FAF has been daydreaming about the 3-D video game equipment which would help take his childhood obsession to the next level.
I grew up playing Mario and Tetris, but I never understood the appeal of those shooting/fighting/violent video games. In fact, Mr. FAF and I used to fight about how he spent too much time playing games and didn’t stay focused on his PhD to graduate and get a job.
When Baby FAF was born, Mr. FAF bottle-fed our son (with my breast milk) while watching other people play games online (?!). After having a serious discussion with me about his responsibility and priorities, Mr. FAF set video games aside to focus on his doctoral degree.
Now that Mr. FAF graduated and got a job, I feel more comfortable with him playing video games again. In fact, Mr. FAF’s dream came true this Thanksgiving when he spent a whopping $349 on Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System.
If I were him, I would never buy it. But I also want to be understanding and thus approved the purchase.
Related: 5 Things I Wished I Had, But Now I Don’t
3. Desktop (for the 3-D video game) – $738.98
When Mr. FAF got the Oculus Rift system in the mail, he was ecstatic. To Mr. FAF’s dismay, however, his laptop and mine are not strong enough to support such system.
That ensued was another purchase of a $699 desktop and a $39.98 protection plan to make Oculus Rift work. The total amounted to roughly $1,000.
I was just so over the 3-D system that at one point I didn’t really care what else he bought for video games. I just hoped Mr. FAF will have lots of fun playing video games in 3D at home.
This story, however, has a happy ending (for our bank account). Mr. FAF said that it took him forever to set up the system (~20 minutes), and that it wasn’t as fun as he thought, so he returned it.
As for me, I was quite happy with his final decision.
Related: The Costs Of Marital Conflict
4. Ipad – $450
Before Baby FAF went to China with my in-laws, Mr. FAF bought an Ipad so that all of us can talk online everyday. I insisted that we buy something cheaper, but Mr. FAF said my in-laws could also use the iPad to take photos.
I finally gave in. We were going to spend a year from each other. I wanted to make sure that we could see our son clearly and have high quality photos of him.
When Baby FAF came back to DC, however, the iPad was badly damaged. My mother-in-law said that Baby FAF dropped the iPad often, and that’s why it started to break.
We took the device to a shop to get it fixed. After getting a quote of $200 to replace the half broken screen, we decided to just let it be and make the most use of the iPad before it gives its last breath. We could easily purchase a new tablet with $200.
Related: Why We Sent Our Son To China
5. Samsung laptop – $935.99
After posting about my aging Toshiba, which was on its last leg, I got a lot of encouragement from you all to buy a new laptop. I had my Toshiba for five years, and it was working fine.
The only problem was that the screen was falling apart, and the speed became painfully slow. But I still hesitated and slept on that suggestion for a long time.
The biggest push for my final decision to purchase a Samsung laptop for $935.99 was Mr. FAF’s $42 restaurant bill with this friend. I resented him for dropping almost $50 on a meal out while I ate leftovers at home and even had stomach cramps from it.
As the story goes, I dragged Mr. FAF to the store and made a $1,000 angry purchase that day. The Samsung is the most expensive laptop I have ever owned.
If you asked me, I’d say I regret that decision and wish I had bought something in the $500-$600 range instead.
Related: Why I Hold Onto My Broken Laptop
6. Sofa – $999
Mr. FAF and I have gotten a lot of used furniture from friends, neighbors, and even the curbside. We cherish all of them and gave away things that we no longer need.
After we bought our new home, Mr. FAF wanted to have a proper set of furniture for our living room. I didn’t think it was necessary but went with his decision anyway.
In my mind, I would be happy to furnish our living room with those free chairs we got from the dumpster and the free coffee table my MIL picked up from the curbside.
The sofa is one piece of furniture that’s been used the least at our house. Our living room is right next to our dining table, so we usually sit at the dining table instead.
Related: How To Save On Furniture
7. L-shape desk – $500.49
This is the second most expensive piece of furniture that we bought after the sofa for our new home. We usually used desks we got for free or at a low price from our friends (i.e. $10).
However, after buying our first home, Mr. FAF wanted to get a nice desk with a bookshelf for his study room. After going to multiple furniture stores and not finding a nice desk at a reasonable price, Mr. FAF settled on the L-shape desk on Amazon.
After spending 10 hours assembling every piece of the furniture and using it for 2-3 weeks, he realized that the desk was awkwardly uncomfortable. I had the same feeling and actually prefer our $10 hand-me-down desk.
This is an item we regret buying. It reminds us every day that bigger is not always bigger.
Some of the items mentioned above might seem like normal or even small purchases to a lot of people. After all, I know there are $2,000 laptops and $4,000 sofas at the stores.
In some cases, the price of an item reflects its quality, especially when it comes to electronics (i.e. $800 iPhone v. a $100 phone, $1,000 MacBook v. $200 laptop).
That’s one reason why 5 out of 7 items above are electronics. However, I have to admit that not all of them are necessities (i.e. 3-D video game system, desktop).
Mr. FAF always tells me that we need to live a little, and that we should use money to improve our life quality instead of just keeping it in the bank.
It sometimes pains me a little to think about all of the expensive purchases above. But I will heed Mr. FAF’s advice and not be obsessed with trying to save money all the time.
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19 thoughts on “7 Crazy Expensive Things We’ve Bought”
Anything 3D equals immediate return on investment lol. Personally, i’m all for spending almost recklessly on things that make you happy.
It’s only expensive if you get no true value from these items, and regret purchasing all of them. In that case, it’s a good lesson
I once saw “Alice In Wonderland” in 3D at the movie theater and thought it was pretty cool. Other than that, I’m not really a big fan. But I understand why some people really like it hehe. It was definitely a good lesson for us. Good thing we could return the system for a full refund 😀
I wouldn’t beat yourself up too much. We all make mistakes, and yes, they can be expensive ones.
All you can really do is more carefully consider your purchases. However, don’t agonise to the point where you never purchase anything.
Great point, Will! I once thought about not buying anything expensive so that I wouldn’t regret it later. But we should live life a little. Both Mr. FAF and I now know we won’t need to buy those expensive things anymore 😉
I’ve been living with my broken ipad screen for a year now. It’s too old to warrant fixing and works well enough for what I use it for. I can’t justify spending the money for a new one unless it’s completely dead.
Me too! We just use the Ipad with the broken screen. I don’t want to drop another $200 on it >_<
I like your sofa, it’s nice. We spent a little over a grand on our sofa and chair. They are used every day so I think it’s worth it.
Why don’t you sell the camera? I have a Canon DSLR and I don’t like lugging it around either. It’s too heavy. I just use it at home. Now, I want a lighter camera that will take good pictures for my blog. Is that too much to ask? Camera technology is so confusing.
Thank you, Joe! We use that sofa mainly when we want to lie down to rest after cooking or eating a big meal. We rarely have guests over. When we do, we usually together, so we sit at the dining table instead.
I told Mr. FAF to sell the camera. But I think he was emotionally attached to it and wanted to keep it @_@ It wasn’t until my sister expressed an interest in photography that he kinda had to part with the camera. I totally agree camera technology is confusing. I think it’s even more so since I don’t really like taking photos that much and am not motivated to learn 🙁
Our youngest needs music to go to sleep each night, he’s a light sleeper. He uses an old iPad 2 we have with the screen broken years ago.
What’s the second part of the saying: use, reuse, recycle.
I’m with you on “use, reuse, recycle.” We will try to get the most out of a product before letting it rest for good 😀
“Mr. FAF bought an Ipad so that all of us can talk online everyday. I insisted that we buy something cheaper, but Mr. FAF said my in-laws could also use the iPad to take photos.”
I had the exact same argument with my mom. She thinks iPads are best and I used my first jobs paycheck to buy it for her. I told her there’s cheaper alternatives (plus she doesn’t know how to use it and I don’t know how to use Macs).
Anyway just a small rant…I think a lot of Chinese people are annoyingly obsessed with brands, not substance or fit.
I know! People in Vietnam like Apple products too. They love iPhones and such although the income there is not high. I just don’t get it. I wouldn’t spend 1k on a phone. I have had a $179 Amazon Fire phone for 3 years, and I’m totally happy with it. I hope it will last me at least another 5 years.
We just recently cleaned a bunch of stuff out of our basement, and the amount of $$ we spent on the electronics that went into the dumpster was staggering. 😭😭😭 I feel your pain!
I know! Electronics depreciate so fast too :'( We’re having a community yard sale this weekend, and I will try my best to get rid of everything we don’t need and get some $$$ for them.
The sofa is something on which I would generally spend more than other furnitures. We eat most of the time at our coffee table on our sofa when the weather is not nice enough. I would probably not spend 999$ though. Probably half of it without regrets. I’m also a big geek and gamer. I’ve probably spend more than 5000 $ on all my tech stuff (probably a lot more, actually…).
It’s *fun* to see that Mr. FAF is the one doing almost all the big purchases 😉
“It’s *fun* to see that Mr. FAF is the one doing almost all the big purchases 😉”
Haha great point! I think it’s mainly because I don’t want to spend big bucks on anything. I’m totally happy with a free couch or a sofa from the curbside. I think Mr. FAF wanted to improve our life quality, but we ended up spending a lot of money on some unnecessary items. At least now we know what we need or don’t need to be happy with our lives 😀
Your certainly got better value for money from your laptop purchase than Mr Faf did from his meal out!
BTW we’ve got a similar black leather chaise loungesuite and I regret the purchase as it feels cold to sit on in winter. I wish we’d bought a cheaper and smaller fabric covered couch
I definitely came from a gaming culture and I agree. Gaming is quite expensive! I personally spent $1200 for my gaming desktop and $600 for the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset. Also games can cost up to $80 for just the game itself! I completely understand.
Fortunately for me, my fiancé is also into gaming and we’ve used it as a great bonding activity for the two of us. 🙂 We very frugal and gaming is probably one of our most expensive expenses we spent.
Compared to other hobbies I have seen, it’s definitely cheaper than most.