Thought Experiment #11 – Spend It All

I’m still procrastinating on my 2022 goals so may as well use the time in a somewhat constructive way and support SavingNinja with one of his famous thought experiments!

Here’s his latest one:

“You’ve decided that you no longer want to save any of your income toward FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) each month. Instead, you’re going to spend it. How would you use your new disposable income?” 

Here goes off the top of my head:

1 – My House

This could be one of my shortest posts ever as the answer would easily be that I would spend my all new disposable income on my house and my garden!

However, I wouldn’t just be ‘spending it all’, the money would instead be put aside to fund big projects such as:

  • (in the garden) blockpaving my driveway, resetting paving in back garden, new shed/storage, garden decking in the patio, raised beds;
  • and (in the house) new bathroom and new kitchen.

These are things I hope to sort out in any event at some point, but no longer aiming for FIRE means I might get these things done in the near(er) future, as opposed to the far future.

2 – Travel

At some point, the world will learn to live with COVID and travel will be more straight forward again.  Although I plan to put money aside for future travel in any case, I would be able to have more trips if I wasn’t investing all my spare money.

When I’m allowed to, I’d like to travel to see my family in Hong Kong so that’s funding for at least two trips every year, including a trip to Singapore to see other family there.

Maybe a couple of cheeky jaunts or weekends to somewhere in Europe with friends –  I do love a cheerful beach holiday!

3 – New PC

I’d probably finally buy a new PC – the one I have is my original gaming machine which I bought back in 2009!

I don’t have a lot of time for gaming these days, so it’s been ok for the few games that I do play on the odd occasion, but it’s slow, often struggles and I’ve not really been getting the benefits of my swanky curved monitor!

Will I have time for gaming?

Why yes, I’m sure I will as I won’t be busy monitoring my investments, updating FIRE spreadsheets, thinking about/doing side hustles or how I can eke out an extra quid here and there to add to my FIRE pot!

Another reason for more time for gaming? Not aiming for FIRE means I’d probably not be maintaining this blog or really be part of the FIRE community any more.

I mean, what would I write about?

4 – ‘Things’

Not aiming for FIRE, I could lapse into carefree ignorance and not worry about where my money was going.

Ignorance is bliss and I would be in the same boat as everyone else (outside of the FIRE community), except that I would be in a better position as I would still have the Future Fund I have already accumulated.

My money would just merrily disappear from my bank account each month without me even trying, being spent on ‘things’ and as long as I didn’t spend more than I earned, that would be fine, right?

5 – Erm and that’s it really!

I struggled to think of anything else I would want to do if I was no longer focused on FIRE and racked my brains to think of what it was that I didn’t do or spend money on now, that I had sacrificed or scrimped on. I couldn’t come up with anything else.

I was going to add ‘eat out more’ to the list but it’s not as if I’m turning down social events with my friends – I go to every one and don’t scrimp on food or drink (the hangovers testify to that!) – aiming for FIRE isn’t impeding my social life.

I don’t yearn for a new car (mine’s now 10 years old, bought from new) or more clothes/shoes (having just ditched 50% of my wardrobe, I don’t need to fill it up again!).

I think I’ve changed my life (and mindset) so much over the years that I don’t believe there is anything that I’m missing out on due to my pursuit of FIRE.

It’s not more disposable income I want, to enjoy and do more in my life, although of course, I wouldn’t say no to a pay rise or a work bonus.

It’s more time that I want, and FIRE is more likely to give me that.

Other bloggers with their personal takes on this Thought Experiment include:

SavingNinja

One Million Journey

Indeedably

Total Balance

Anyone else got any thoughts to share?

14 thoughts on “Thought Experiment #11 – Spend It All

  1. My main extravaganza has been the purchase of a large detached house. It may have derailed my FIRE by 5 years, but it gave me peace of mind and an escape from a noisy neighbour. It put a big dent in my future fund, but then what is the point of money if you don’t use it to enjoy life?

    • Hi Donna
      Not only peace of mind for you though but an escape to somewhere you are happier.
      I know how you feel about derailing the FIRE plan but I see it as a temporary setback, one which you can recover from.

      Here’s to us both getting back on track!

  2. Nothing, I’ve been doing that my whole life. Spending whatever I wanted to. But there was still lots left over. Now after retiring, same thing. I can’t spend all of it, but we spend whatever we want. There is just too much money, always has been. We just signed a contract on 25 acres of wilderness land we will put a cabin on. That’s spending a little, but it will go up in value so it’s not really costing us. The thought experiment didn’t work for me because there is nothing I’ve denied myself that I want.

    • Hey Steve
      Wow, all the best with your 25 acres!

      I’ve never been in a position (nor likely to ever be) where there was always lots of cash left over to do whatever with. In my younger days, I spent what I didn’t have (on credit cards), in my middling years, I’m more sensible and am mindful with my spending, whilst at the same time, not denying myself anything – just that some things I do want, I have to wait for but which I will get in the end.

  3. I somewhat agree with Steve above. My upbringing was an extremely frugal one and my hobbies & interests don’t cost much (and seem to have an annoying habit of them turning into new sources of income).

    If spend it all was really the only option – it would go on:

    a) Health. A fully medical work up every couple of years. The best scans/tests known to man as a way of ensuring I have time. The time to spend money on healthcare is not end of life – but the decades leading up to it as many terminal/reduced life quality conditions can be mitigated/delayed with early treatment.

    b) Marginal land/desert with the intention of growing trees.

    c) Put it all on green. Many bets – big and small – on the future survival of the human race – from climate tech and cultural preservation to space travel and interplanetary colonisation.

    • Hi G

      Interesting call on the spending on health, it’s not something I would have considered but is something I do on a small scale (I get my cholestrol checked every year to keep tabs on it).

      I do support the push towards green but am just a bit wary that there’s a lot of ‘green washing’ and that there’s a side to the story or the picture that I might missing. Would need to know more about it before I threw any money at it.

      Where would you buy the marginal land/desert?

      • Landwise, if in the UK – the obvious places are highlands in Wales and Scotland. Much of it ecologically barren – having had centuries of grouse shooting and sheep farming. But obvious sensitivities with regards to local traditions and communities. Better value might be found in areas of Africa, China and middle east. Professor Wangari Maathai might be a model to follow:
        https://wangarimaathai.org/wangaris-story/

  4. I think I’m very similar to you Weenie. I’d definitely spend a bit of money on my house. That will no doubt be getting done at some point, but more disposable income would make that sooner rather than later. I’d love to travel more, but really I more value the extra time to do that rather than more money. I can’t think of many things I’m desperate to buy. If I really want something and I think it will enhance my life I’d probably get it now anyway. An interesting experiment, but I’m glad we don’t have to actually carry it out.

    • Hey SS
      Yes, more disposable income means things round the house being done sooner rather than later – just have to be patient!

      Agree that if there was anything I was desperate to buy or do, I would do it anyway, I’ve never denied myself anything while saving for FIRE, or sacrificed anything.

  5. Thanks for taking part Weenie!

    It’s great that you came to the conclusion that you really wouldn’t change much. Although is it due to your spending habits being ingrained into you, or being content? When you think about it, I think they’re one in the same thing, being content is being happy with what you have, right?

    I would normally be yelling to build a gaming PC right now! Although my wife has been using the free version of Geforce Now for the past few months, and she’s able to play all of her Steam library for free and in better graphics than her old PC that we left in the UK, you should give it a try! The only issue is that you have to log out and in again every 1h, awesome for the casual game though.

    • Hey SN

      Agree that the spending habits/being content is the same – all to do with mindset, realising that I didn’t need to buy so much and being content with what I have.

      I will give Geforce a try – no issue about logging in and out again every 1h, in fact, that might be a good way of keeping my gaming in check, as I probably should be doing something else instead of playing games!

  6. Good post weenie. I have to say that I feel similar in a lot of ways to your response to this. I personally would like to do up the inside of my house in a more care free sense as well as buying a new car, mine is also 10 years old from new. I used to build gaming pcs back in the day but I just wouldn’t use it much if I built one, I often dream about building one so it’s like part of me must really want one again but… if I really got enough joy out of it I’d buy one now and I think that sums it up for me, apart from a new car, doing my house up which I am at pains to do because of the sheer costs. I already enough money of disposable going out events and go on holidays so not sure what else. I certainly wouldn’t be wearing £200 jeans, gold chains, with £2k Omega watch in tow… TFJ

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