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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.
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.
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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