Being financially savvy means making every dollar count — the fewer wasted purchases, the better. While frivolous spending breaks budgets, well-planned purchases can add value and even pay you back down the road.
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GOBankingRates asked financial experts from an interesting blend of backgrounds to share the best purchases of their lives. Some made their lives more comfortable, others made their hobbies more enjoyable. Some helped them succeed in their goals and others just made them happy.
Either way, these are the kinds of purchases you should be aiming to make with your disposable income — every wasted purchase, after all, makes it harder to afford the things that really count.
A Leopard Catamaran Yacht
Kris Fothergill is a CPA and founder of the Diagno accounting firm — which he runs from a yacht with his wife and four kids. As a family, they’ve sailed more than 10,000 nautical miles and visited 11 countries as the pandemic played out oceans away. They chronicle their adventures through their Sailing With Six social media brand.
Fothergill isn’t saying to buy a 46-foot Leopard catamaran like he did. The point is that a splurge can actually be an investment if it furthers your ability to earn a living while providing personal enrichment — especially if you mitigate the expense with frugal lifestyle adjustments.
For the Fothergills, life at sea demands minimalism and self-reliance.
“We don’t have the space to fill our boat with furnishings or souvenirs,” Fothergill said. “We also don’t need to renovate our home, update our car — because we don’t have one — or wear the latest fashions. We catch our own food when we can, fix what is broken and recycle and re-use what we can.”
A Good Pair of Headphones
There are times when the cheapest option is also the best, but when it comes to tech, you can sometimes spend less in the long run by investing a little more upfront.
“The best purchase I’ve ever made was a $300 pair of headphones,” said Jensen Lee, founder and managing member of bidetsPLUS. “They’ve been with me for over a year now and still work perfectly.”
There’s no secret to telling good buys from bad — just prudence, diligent research, and the willpower to avoid impulse spending.
“Just make well-thought-out purchases to keep your money safe and happy,” said Lee.
High-Quality Crocheting Needles
Like headphones, there’s no shortage of cheap crocheting needles on the market, but for passionate hobbyists like Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews, a high-end Clover set was well worth the money.
“These things are pricey,” said Ramhold. “A set of 10 goes for around $88 normally, but they make a huge difference in my crochet projects. I didn’t believe a friend of mine when she said they could make that much of a difference, but trying them alongside my budget-friendly ones, the difference was night and day.”
If Ramhold ever decides to make her passion pay as a side hustle, that $88 will become a business investment. Until then, it has paid for itself in the form of yarn-based zen.
“Suffice to say that set made my hobby more enjoyable because they just work more smoothly and comfortably,” said Ramhold. “Now I work on a crochet project at least once a day.”
A Comic Book Collection
Comic book expert Vincent Zurzolo is the COO and co-owner of ComicConnect.com and Metropolis Collectibles, which hold several Guinness World Records for sales. His life work proves that purchasing your passions can ultimately pay off — in his case, of course, the best purchases have all been comic books.
“Once considered child’s play, vintage comic books and related collectibles have become one of the most dependable investments around,” said Zurzolo. “In contrast to Wall Street’s recent volatility, comic book values are steadily increasing, just as they’ve done for over a decade.”
Contrary to popular belief, they don’t have to be vintage to be valuable.
“Even comic books from the last 20 years have become collectible,” said Zurzolo. “With some jumping in value from just a few dollars five years ago to more than $40,000 today.”
Professional Financial Help
When it comes to financial planning, an investment in a little extra help can be money well spent even if you already know what you’re doing.
“One of my best purchases was hiring a fee-only financial planner to make me a comprehensive plan despite my background and experience in personal finance,” said Nunzio Ross, founder and CEO of Majesty Coffee. “Financial planners are not cheap, so I could have just decided to bank on my experience to make a financial plan for myself. However, receiving help from fellow experts in the field has proven beneficial in the long run, encouraging me to consider looking into secondary advice when making big money decisions.”
A Smart Thermostat
Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer, was happy to spend money that paid him back over time in the form of lower utility bills.
“One of the best purchases that I have made is my smart thermostat,” said Hill. “I bought it last year, and it instantly made a huge difference in my AC bill. Living in Texas, summers are brutal. They start early, end late, and give us weeks upon weeks of consistent 100-plus temperatures.”
He tried all the typical DIY tricks first, mostly to no avail.
“My smart thermostat, on the other hand, has consistently saved me a significant amount of money each month,” said Hill. “And my home temperature remains more comfortable 24/7.”
Renter’s Insurance (or at Least a Lesson on Why It’s Important)
Ending on a cautionary tale is Jason Porter, a senior investment manager at Scottish Heritage SG. He recounted a story about an insurance policy that would have been the best purchase he ever made — if he had actually made it.
“Paying your insurance bills can feel like throwing money down a drain until you actually need it,” said Porter. “Then it’s a blessing like no other.”
Despite persistent warnings from a friend, Porter passed on renters insurance as an unnecessary expense when he leased an apartment.
“I kept putting the idea off and one day, out of nowhere, someone broke into my apartment and stole my TV and laptop,” said Porter. “I was in shock but I had nowhere to go as the landlord did not cover any such incidents.”
A good policy would have covered not just theft, but also vandalism, fire and smoke damage, and some weather-related disasters.
“Ever since, I am a firm believer and preacher of insurance policies because you never know when things go upside down,” Porter said.
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Disclaimer: Photos are for representational purposes only.