Celebrities are known for their massive splurges. Beyoncé, for instance, had a maternity wardrobe with an estimated value of at least $53,000, according to E! News. Johnny Depp admitted to spending well over $30,000 a month on wine, and according to E!, Lady Gaga once purchased an electromagnetic field reader used to detect the paranormal for the low cost of $50,000. Outrageous spending pretty much comes with the territory of being rich and famous. But what does the average Joe or Jane splurge on?
GOBankingRates talked to 17 everyday people to find out the answer. Though they might not have Gaga’s ghost-hunting money, these folks swear by these items they splurged on that cost them around $1,000 or more.
A Designer Handbag
“I splurged on a Louis Vuitton bag as a gift to myself when I turned 30,” said senior writer Gabrielle Olya. “I don’t regret buying it at all because I use it every single day, it’s a timeless style, and the company also has a great repair policy so I can get it fixed if it ever breaks. Also, it’s one of the few brands of bags that hold their value, so if I ever really need that money I can always sell it for just slightly less than what I paid for it.”
Olya is right. In February 2018, style site Who What Wear declared Louis Vuitton part of the “holy trinity” of luxury bag brands worth investing in, due in large part to their consistently high resale value.
A Canon Camera
Partnerships associate Nneoma Nwaigwe spent a little over $900 after tax on a Canon EOS Rebel. Though you can find digital point-and-shoot cameras for under $100, Nwaigwe was looking for the quality a digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, would provide. These cameras are more complex than basic point-and-shoots and are often seen as the next step for those looking to get serious about photography. “I think it was worth it,” she said, “because I’m using it to shoot a video blog with three of my friends about dating in the Nigerian culture.”
A Laptop for Gaming
A few years ago, Becky Hollada spent around $1,000 on a new laptop to replace her worn out one. “I had some money in savings because I was living the millennial dream at my parents’ house, so I decided it was time to retire my college laptop after a long, productive seven years,” the junior editor and project manager said. “My old dinosaur laptop was seriously struggling with even the most basic tasks. I was a freelancer and really couldn’t work with the browser freezing in my email all the time.”
Since she had a fair amount of money saved, Hollada decided to add some bells and whistles. “I opted for a middle-grade base model and upgraded a few things: I’m an avid gamer for one, so I sprung for the best laptop graphics card Nvidia offered to open up the range of games I could play, and I also threw some money at processor and memory upgrades. A $400 laptop might be all some people need, but I spent the extra to get a mobile machine that would be able to keep pace with all of my personal needs for several years to come.”
Certified financial planner Cary Carbonaro bought a two-person infrared sauna from Costco for her home. “It was $1,200 — marked down $500 from $1,700,” she said. The sauna is pretty elaborate. It has a speaker and lights inside and required a handyman to install.
Despite the cost, Carbonaro said it was well worth it. Going to a spa costs $20-$30 for a half-hour session, she said, so “it pays for itself in 40 sessions. If you go in every day, you are saving money.”
She also swears by the spa’s health benefits. “It helps with your skin, digestion, relaxation, better sleep, weight loss, detoxing, improves circulation and more,” she said. “Health is wealth.”
“My husband and I splurged on an original Dr. Seuss piece of art with a price well north of $1,000,” said CEO of Robo-Advisor Pros Barbara A. Friedberg. Seuss’ artwork is available on his posthumous website and is extremely popular. Many pieces are sold out and a rare collection requires a special password just to view.
Though some might question the choice to buy a drawing that is more than the price of a round-trip plane ticket to Europe, Friedberg said, “It looks amazing in our home and we enjoy it every day.” Plus, art collecting and dealing can make you big bucks. Her piece has now “appreciated in value 200 percent.”
The creator of Personal Profitability, Eric Rosenberg, said, “One place I often find myself investing again and again is multimedia gear for my business. For visitors to my website, podcast and YouTube channel, it is important to me to offer the best experience possible. That means using expensive cameras, microphones and other electronics to record and edit.”
There are additional upsides to his spending aside from better customer experience. “Though I’ve spent thousands on these over the years, they improve my business overall. And, at the very least, I can write off the cost on my taxes,” said Rosenberg.
A Travel Wardrobe
Writer Nora Dunn said that after years of burning through travel clothes that were all function and no fashion, she realized she was burning through money as well. It was at that time that she reevaluated her utilitarian approach to clothing. “I realized a few important factors to having the right travel wardrobe, such as cost-per-wear and striking the balance between function, comfort and style,” she said. “Now, I have a favorite brand of designer travel clothing, and my wardrobe in its entirety is worth about $1,000.”
To all the naysayers, Dunn said, “It might sound pricey, but this stuff has withstood years of abuse and still looks great. It’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent, and I look and feel great all the time.” She now advocates for a capsule wardrobe on her site The Professional Hobo.
“I spend big on shoes,” said “Build Your Dream Network” author Kelly Hoey. “I can debate all sorts of other big ticket purchases, but when it comes to buying shoes, I simply hand over my credit card.” It’s not just that she has had a life-long obsession with footwear, either. “The business reality is that today, shoes have become an identifiable part of my brand. As an author and frequent public speaker, I’m meeting with people all the time and yes, if not a question on networking, the first question I am asked is ‘What shoes are you wearing?'”
If you’re looking to get serious about your career, investing in your brand is a smart bet. Hoey rocks a pair of colorful, glitter- and tasseled-covered shoes right on the homepage of her site JKellyHoey.co.
A Bike Rack and Cargo Box
The creator of Wallet Hacks, Jim Wang, became a father for the fifth time this year. He realized that if his growing family wanted to still go for long car rides, they needed to either buy a new, bigger vehicle or find a way to expand their current one. “We opted to purchase roof racks and a Yakima SkyBox, but it meant that we could use our existing crossover vehicle for trips,” he said.
The accessories have ensured his family’s comfort, making them well worth the splurge. “Having the extra storage means that instead of packing our car to the gills with luggage, we can put most of it in the 18-cubic-feet SkyBox and enjoy a more comfortable drive,” said Wang.
Staying healthy is important to Holly Johnson, co-creator of Club Thrifty, who sprang for a $999 Bowflex Max Trainer M3 so that she would have something to work out with when the weather forced her indoors. The machine, which boasts eight resistance levels, two workout programs, a heart rate monitor and a place to store your phone and water bottle, quickly became an integral part of her daily life. “I usually get up at 6 a.m. and drink coffee for 20 minutes. After that, I work out for at least 25 minutes while watching concerts on YouTube,” said Johnson. “Having a way to work out at home is crucial for me since I have small children and don’t want to leave home to go to the gym all the time.”
The Bowflex site is currently having a holiday sale. You can get $208 off of the model Johnson swears by, plus free shipping.
Professional Camera Equipment
After focusing on paying down debt for years and foregoing buying a camera system of his own, professional photographer Chase Brock finally purchased his old roommate’s gear. “I purchased a barely used Canon 5D Mark II ($600 used), Canon 24-105mm f/4L ($499 used), Canon 580EX II ($130 used), Lowerpro backpack ($60 used) and one 16gb SanDisk CF card ($10 used),” he said. “It would normally have come out to $1,300, but I got it all for a flat price of $1,000.”
The purchase has been extremely valuable for Brock’s photography business. “Over the course of a year, I might get anywhere between 10 to 15 freelance photo gigs that can pay anywhere from $350 to $2,000. Having my own camera to utilize without relying on friends or rental companies enables me to get up and go when a client calls last minute needing photography for real estate or their portfolio.”
A Compound Bow
Although some people would gladly splurge $1,000 on a slew of spa treatments or a little retail therapy in the name of relaxation, Daily Successful Living’s Amy White opted for a top of the line compound bow. “Shooting it has become a huge relaxation tool for me,” she said. “I love being able to spend time with my friends at the range refining my technique and focusing my energy on a hobby that helps me take time for myself.”
If you want to take up this unique sport that’s sure to impress, Cabela’s offers compound bow packages starting as low as $299.99.
Fun and Frugal: 51 Hobbies That Cost Less Than $10
Dental health educator Aaron Bacha bought his boyfriend an iPad as a birthday present. “Previously, he had been working with an old MacBook from the early 2000s,” he said. “Now he can peruse shopping websites, check his mail and review vacation pictures all on the compact screen of the tablet.” Seeing the happiness on his significant other’s face day to day makes the splurge worth it for Bacha. “He loves it and that makes me happy,” he said.
Of course, if fancy electronics aren’t in your budget, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to disappoint. Try getting your partner a small gift that will still impress.
A Sneaker Collection
Strength and conditioning coach Cole Thomas said his sneaker collection is his pride and joy. “I have about $1,000 worth of colorful basketball shoes, including Nike Dunks, Jordans, (Adidas) Boosts, Derrick Rose 7s, LeBron 12s, Pharrell Williams signature Adidas and more,” he said. Considering a pair of Nike Dunks have been sold on Flight Club for over $18,750, Thomas’ collection is downright conservative.
The footwear isn’t just about status, either — it’s a crucial part of conveying one’s personality. “I feel like you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear,” he said. “And I’ve enjoyed accumulating sneakers that show off my personality over the years.”
“When I was in high school, I became obsessed with snowboarding,” said English teacher Susie Fox. “I had a notion that I was going to become good enough to get sponsored and eventually go pro. So I started saving up my money from summer jobs to buy all the basics. I wanted to hit the slopes with my own gear instead of renting it out.” This can get expensive though. REI’s women’s boards, for example, range anywhere between $299.95 and $899.
Though she didn’t realize her dream of going pro, the memories are still worth the big purchase. “When I finally went down the mountain with my own board, bindings, boots and matching outfit, it felt really rewarding to know I worked for all of that,” Fox said. “Those first few years are irreplaceable.” The snow sports enthusiast still uses her gear whenever she gets up to the mountains.
A Pin Collection
Beanie Babies, Pogs, Furby toys, Garbage Pail Kids — sometimes a line of products comes along that inexplicably captures the public’s attention. Enamel pins have been having their moment for the last few years, with W Magazine stating the trend had reached “Kim Kardashian levels” in 2016. Only time will tell if this is one of the geeky collectibles worth millions; for now, pin collectors are just enjoying the ride.
“I’ve been collecting enamel pins for almost two years,” said client care delivery analyst Vina Le. Though she spends only $5 to $15 on each pin, she has amassed so many at this point that her collection has cost her well over $1,000. Still, she can’t live without them. “To me, they are like tiny pieces of art you can carry with you,” she said. “There are pins of all genres and interests, so I never get bored of them. And they’re multi-purpose. I accessorize my outfits and bags and decorate my walls with them.” Indeed, one of the collector’s living room walls is devoted to bulletin boards, every square inch or so of which is covered in shiny, colorful enamel.
An Engagement Ring
Editor Nate Klein said his biggest and most worthwhile purchase was his now-wife’s engagement ring. Though it doesn’t serve any practical purpose, seeing it every day on her finger is an important reminder of their commitment to each other, one that Klein wouldn’t want to live without. “The ring also reminds me of two of the best days of my life: the day I proposed and the day I put it on her finger,” he said.
And unlike other gifts such as clothing or accessories, a diamond truly is forever. “I never have to worry about it going out of style or being replaced,” Klein said.
Click through to read about a budgeting pro who just spent $1,200 on a cat.
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Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the photos might not reflect the persons or items listed in this article.
Prices mentioned for items currently available are accurate as of Dec. 17, 2018.