Monday, April 21, 2008

Getting over Sticker Shock & Allowing myself to Spend Money

I despise spending money. And every time, I must go through the same tedious process of justifying my expenditures. Obviously, I have a great deal of respect for money. I prefer to have money working for me all of the time and trading it away is essentially trading away some time on my early retirement dream.

Of course, we must all spend some money, after all there are items that we need and must have, but what about the stuff that we would just like to have? How do we rationalize that?

I am currently struggling with the decision to remodel a shower. It’s 21 years old. It’s lots of hard-to-clean tile and glass with a rusty frame, stubborn glass door and cheap plated plastic faucets. I want it out of my life. But…it still works, no drips, no leaks, no serious issues.

I can not justify the purchase based on the fact that it will add value to my home. Such renovations almost always lose value because the money gets eaten up in labor costs, materials, depreciation, etc. The only way something like this will pay off is as a long term investment. The general rule is that you will only recover about 40% of the cost of the work done, with kitchen and bathrooms having the highest return for your money.

No, this remodel is being done for me, because, well, I deserve it. It’s that simple.

Last week I got a couple of estimates for my shower remodel. The estimating took 1.5 hours each, so I have already invested over 3 hours of my free time in this project. The contractor bids came in at $4950 and $6300. It’s difficult to imagine spending that kind of money on a shower. Just to get this in perspective, I listed some other things that I could purchase for $5000.

New Plasma TV: A real nice Samsung 63" Widescreen Plasma HDTV would look sharp in my great room for only $4400.

New asphalt shingle roof: My insurance deductible is $5000, so that would be my cost. Yes, it’s a high deductible and because I have owned the house a long time, I have come out ahead thanks to the much reduced premiums.

New hot tub: what a nice luxury that would be after a long bicycle ride. I’ll never forget how great a hot springs feels after spending a day hiking or biking. The hot soak just takes it all away and your legs are new again for the next day of hiking. It could be mine everyday for five grand.

Those are all nice things that I would like to have, but with the exception of the new roof, I will probably not purchase any of them any time soon. I figure the shower is one of those luxuries that I will give myself and most importantly I will never have to look at that old shower again and fret over what I need to do about it.


  1. I'm not sure that can truly be called a "splurge" as it can also be deemed an investment in your home. ;-)
    Price sounds reasonable, especially since you are in your prime earning tears. You'll make it back in no time. =)
    Now if you want to really consider splurging....consider one of those bathroom mirrors that are also TV's. ;-)

  2. yes, it is an investment in my home and bath remodels are probably one of the best ROI's that can be done.

  3. Congratulations on having given yourself something you really need!

    We would probably have gone the DIY route. I am blessed with a husband who, although a computer dude professionally, is an excellent plumber. And, we have removed yucky plastic tile from bathroom walls in the past, replacing it with lovely ceramic. (I'll grant that getting the adhesive off was NO FUN. Using the rented wet saw WAS fun, however.)

    I have no idea what your new hardware (shower and faucets) costs, so I won't try to compare the approaches. One thing is certain--you will have fewer days without a functional shower for having hired a professional. Our do-it-yourself jobs have always taken way too long.

  4. @Amy - Thanks for the positive reinforcement. I tend to be a DIY'er, also. For example, I have no plumbing experience, but I took on the task to remove and install 5new faucets in my house, see link below. Being a DIY'er probably plays into my relunctance to pay someone to rebuild this shower.