When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary income?

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When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary income?

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:01 am UTC

I suppose mine has been a frugal life so far. I have no car; my primary mode of transportation has always been rather cheap bicycles. I've never bought really expensive furniture, and I generally dislike buying clothes so much that I put it off as long as possible. I don't drink, smoke, or use other recreational drugs; my primary vice is buying video games I never get around to playing, and I don't think that really takes up that much of my funds in the end (or at least I hope it doesn't) - I can barely stand to spend more than $20 on one, at most. I do go out to eat on occasion, but again, it's never been more than $20 a plate. I've never taken an independent overseas vacation, and I've never had a serious ongoing relationship either. I also have no debt: the credit card gets paid in full every month, as it should be, and I have several years of spreadsheets documenting pretty much all of my discretionary spending if I ever start wondering where the money went.

I was a grad student for quite a while, and it was so easy to dismiss things because they were too expensive. Maybe I didn't always have to; maybe it was just a convenient excuse. At this point I've actually got some retirement savings built up.

But I'm actually earning a pretty decent salary now, and I find myself grappling with the decision to spend four figures on something that's really quite unnecessary but that will still serve me well and if it is regretted at all, it will only be because it cost so much. I can easily afford it, but I find it unexpectedly difficult to part hands with so much money.

When is the first time you spent a fair amount of money all at once on something you didn't really need, and what did you spend it on? (Buying a car doesn't really count if it was necessary for your commute or job or whatever.)

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby hintss » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:17 am UTC

I physically lost all my money. its in my room somewhere...

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Eseell » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:35 am UTC

The first time I balked at spending a lot of money was about four years ago when I bought my HDTV. I had just paid off the last of my student loans and then saved enough to splurge on something. It cost me about $1500 to buy my 61" Samsung 1080P DLP TV and I've gotten many excellent hours of video gaming out of it. It's still my main TV and probably will be for many years.

Like you, I consider myself fairly frugal and I live below my means, but I will spend a lot of money on quality items if it means that I have to buy them less frequently and will enjoy them more. In my - admittedly limited - experience, things like dwellings, furniture, electronics/appliances, vehicles, and clothing - especially footwear - can be worth the extra dimes. It's advisable to thoroughly research such purchases, of course, to make sure you get the best value for your budget.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby LeagueOfMorons » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:29 am UTC

The earliest non-essential-but-still-expensive thing I can think of that I bought with my own money was a Nintendo 64. The Jungle Green edition that was packaged with Donkey Kong 64. (Although the cash I put down on it was largely birthday money, so it's not like I feverishly mowed lawns for a summer to afford it. Maybe that disqualifies.) And I was about 13 or 14 at the time - the couple hundred bucks it cost was a big deal.

The most I've ever spent on something that I didn't strictly need (which would exclude my car, my college education, etc.) would have to be my MacBook (yes, the one I'm typing on now). At well over a grand, it takes the cake by a wide margin. The closest runner-up in terms of dollar amount would probably be my bass or my Fender Strat. And all of these were much more recent - within the last two or three years.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Josephine » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:34 am UTC

I haven't bought much beyond a laptop myself, but I have to agree with eseell. It's a better idea to buy better quality things less often.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Zohar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:37 am UTC

My biggest single expense so far as been my trip to Japan last September, which cost about 5000$.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:22 am UTC

AD&D books in the dollar figure I'd rather not talk about.

...

3.X books in a not quite as bad but still... yeah, I'd rather not talk about it.


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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby angelfire » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:14 am UTC

i just spent 1000 SGD on a bass guitar last month.
figured i had improved enough as a musician to warrant buying a new guitar ;p

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:25 am UTC

I had my first job when I was seventeen, and with my first paycheck I went and bought the Warcraft III Battlechest. It was significant for me because I'd never had more than a hundred dollars to my name before that.

A year later I owned about 300 CD's, a television, DVD player, and a thousand-dollar sound system.

When I went back to studying I became a lot more frugal, and now I'm very good at resisting the urge to spend money. Especially considering I still haven't listened to all those CD's (which represent a significant proportion of 1992-2006 punk). But, yes, when I went overseas I blew about $12 000, or maybe more, but I would do that again any day.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:06 am UTC

Not yet, but I plan on buying a new car within a year. I don't need a new car - my current one serves me perfectly well. But I want something more interesting and more fun to drive.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Plasma Man » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:40 am UTC

I don't think I've ever spend a really big wad of discretionary income. Buying a computer to take to university was an essential, and I managed to find a fairly cheap one. I think the biggest amount I ever paid out was £500, but that was as an investor in Jake Shillingford's Exileinside fan-funded music project and I ended up getting the money back. At the minute, I'm putting any spare income into a savings account to build up a deposit for a mortgage; when that comes through it will be my biggest outlay by far.
I'm also looking to switch from my current rented flat and find a new one, so I suppose the deposit for that will count, but that's something I regard as essential, not optional.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby the_stabbage » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:34 am UTC

I think I spend my money the exact opposite way than you, OP.

Other than that I also transport myself with cheap bicycles, and haven't bought expensive furniture yet:

I drink, smoke the odd Cuban, and use recreational drugs. I love buying clothes. I don't play video games so I don't spend money on them. I think about overseas travel all the time, and have a serious ongoing relationship (but we've never gone to dinner for more than $20 per person).

So yeah, my money trickles away when I have it, but I have a good time.

My biggest purchases are music equipment and University tuition.

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby dubsola » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:07 am UTC

I spent loads of money when I first started getting a decent paycheck, on things like stereos, furniture, computer equipment. I wish I hadn't - while it was certainly fun to play with all of that stuff, it would have been much wiser and more fun in the long term to save it until I had something I really, really wanted. Having money stashed away for saving and emergencies is a good thing.

I hardly ever buy consumer goods these days, if I need something I just wait until a friend is upgrading and then buy their old one. I spend all my money on holidays, and although those are ephemeral, the memories last forever (unlike my memories of some piece of consumer electronics I bought ten years ago).

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:40 pm UTC

A 4-day vacation on a cruise for spring break. It was nearly spontaneous, too - we booked it a mere week and a half before break.

Worth every penny. It helped that my frequent flyer miles paid for the plane tickets, and we found a fairly cheap cruise package. Ahh, spring break. I stayed up dancing til 1 or 2am every night and we had adventures in port during the day, and of course drinking in between, and hooking up with cute nerdboys in between that. I definitely got even less sleep than I usually had when I wasn't on vacation.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby el_loco_avs » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:53 pm UTC

I guess if i figure out how much I spent on my cd collection. Gotta be a couple thousand :S


edit: although spending that over many years doesn't really count.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby meatyochre » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:48 am UTC

First wad I recall spending (other than for rent deposits and college books, which were big wads but not discretionary) was a spring break trip to NYC. I think I totaled about 1k on the whole thing for a 5 day stay including airfare and room, so not too bad overall :)
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:00 am UTC

I have spent large wads of money on a laptop. Twice. But I needed it for school, so I wouldn't call it exactly discretionary.
Ummm...we bought wedding rings last year, those were kind of a big deal (no diamonds, and the total for both of ours was under $1000, but it was still a big deal for us, having no money and all).
Oh, we also bought Lasik eye surgery for my husband last fall. That ran us almost $3k, and was definitely discretionary.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby apricity » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:14 am UTC

I am a huge jerk about spending money. I hate doing it. I will easily blow $50 at a time on a shopping trip, but I can't handle triple digits without serious thought first. I think the only time I have ever spent a large chunk of money without thinking about it for multiple days first was when I bought my netbook. They were pretty new, and the store had a floor model that they were selling for 15% off. My laptop's battery was dead, I really wanted a way to take class notes on a computer, and I'd just gotten my stimulus check, and still my mom had to talk me into spending $350.

The most money I have ever spent on anything besides rent has been on trips. When I did study abroad in Florence, Italy, I told myself I could spend up to $5000 on travel while I was there. I went on a weekend trip to Rome and Pompeii that probably cost about $600 altogether (for the train, hostel, and food, though that was when the euro was crushing the dollar), and a few more day trips around Italy, plus a few flights to England. All in all I spent about $1500. I also went to California last year and spent about $600, and again this year and spent about $900.

I have never spent a quadruple-digit amount of money at one time, except last year when I paid 7 months rent upfront in order to secure an apartment. My dad paid my college tuition and bought me my laptop because I needed it for school. My mom bought me a car in high school because she worked and we constantly had trouble finding ways to get to and from school (and then it was handed over to my sister when I left for college). I think I just grew up in this "only buy things if you really need them" environment that made me a minimalist in what I'll get for myself, though I am a lot better at splurging on experiences than material items.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby 123 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:15 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Not yet, but I plan on buying a new car within a year. I don't need a new car - my current one serves me perfectly well. But I want something more interesting and more fun to drive.


A motorcycle?

The most I ever spent was about $100 on a Xbox 360 60GB hard drive.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:26 am UTC

123 wrote:The most I ever spent was about $100 on a Xbox 360 60GB hard drive.
What about the Xbox 360?

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby 123 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:29 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
123 wrote:The most I ever spent was about $100 on a Xbox 360 60GB hard drive.
What about the Xbox 360?


Christmas gift. How much that cost, I'm unsure of, but it didn't come out of my pocket. (And even then, the $100 for the hard drive was Christmas money)
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:35 am UTC

I'm not sure what qualifies as a large amount of money.

I guess the first time I bought an entire box of M:tG booster packs counts. It was $70-80 and I was in high school.

I bought myself a bicycle when I moved away from home, but I commuted on it so it probably doesn't count? I could have taken the bus or train, I guess.

I spent several thousand dollars on a week-long trip to London after I left school. That's a pretty big chunk of change. It was supposed to be a two-week trip that continued on to Denmark and Sweden, but I ran out of money...
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Ashlah » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:45 am UTC

I'm generally a very frugal person, so when I made my first big purchase of a $900 laptop, I was freaking out. Next after that was a couple hundred on a digital SLR camera, then my car. No big ticket items since then (except tuition and textbooks. And rent.).

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Jacque » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:10 am UTC

After I got my full-time job after graduating I bought a Hasselblad plus a three lenses, probably $1300 in total.

Then shortly after, a trip to Yosemite, plus engagement ring. That cost... I have no idea, a lot. I don't even want to try to add that up.

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Carnildo » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:33 am UTC

First? That would probably be when I spent $50 (the majority of my liquid assets) on a half-share of a Nintendo.

In general, I don't have much in the way of discretionary expenses, which means that, should the current occupant ever realize that, at his age, living somewhere that is only accessable through a flight of stairs is a bad idea, I will be purchasing a condo outright (no loan) in the near future.

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Xeio » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:50 am UTC

Hrmmm, from my first job? Probably on D&D books, then when I started uni I spent quite a bit on a 360 + a few games (well, quite a bit for me at the time).

I plan on building a new computer now that I have a "real" job though, at least once I save enough to pay my bills for a month or two in advance. (Woo fiscal responsibility?)

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby |Erasmus| » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:56 am UTC

I never really spent a lot of money while I was in school. The odd books/cds/etc. were all that I really bought.

The first time I really spent a decent amount of money myself was when I was paying for myself to go skiing for a week with my mates (so, the year after I finished school, when I was 18) which cost about $1000. Since then I've done that every year, bought new gear (yay for spending $400 on ski boots), a $2000 laptop about 3 years ago, 3 holidays overseas (2 trips to Canada and 1 to Japan, between 2-3 weeks each time) another new computer and I bought into a bunch of shares (about $6000 there) when everything hit rock bottom during the GFC.

I guess I have spent a lot of money. Especially for someone who's still a student... :/

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby the_stabbage » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:33 am UTC

lanicita wrote:I am a huge jerk about spending money. I hate doing it. I will easily blow $50 at a time on a shopping trip, but I can't handle triple digits without serious thought first.


Damn, that reminds me I might have to take a part-time job in the Fall to be able to buy a winter jacket and boots, both over $100. Well, I bought a pair of winter boots for $50 last winter and they started cracking by March.

Plus I want to take up cross-country skiiing (because I have a patch of nature near my place, I'm not a masochist I swear). I have no idea how much lessons + equipment + additional caloric intake to prevent weight loss will add up to.

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby el_loco_avs » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:05 am UTC

Wait. I know. A smartphone.

2 months ago. Shiny new HTC Desire (android ftw). Just because my old phone was annoying the crap out of me.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby michaelyw » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:33 am UTC

I won't count the incremental costs of D&D books. When you add it up it's an incredible amount of money, but spread out over many months/years.

The first fairly large wad of discretionary income was on a Springfield Armory 1911:
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby kingofdreams » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:05 pm UTC

Ultra music festival tends to put me under a decent chunk of money each year, besides that and the occaisonal binge, I am the model of restraint
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Toeofdoom » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:40 pm UTC

My desktop PC probably counts, it was around $2000 in total and I bought it 2 years ago. Since it's still in use, it seems like a worthwhile investment even if I did plan it for quite a while.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Adacore » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:50 pm UTC

My most expensive single purchases to date have been computers (my laptop and two PCs, each in the £500-1000 bracket). At the moment I'm trying to curtail all my significant spending in the hopes that I'll be able to afford a house (and, perhaps, subsequently a car) - I suppose you could say neither of those are really necessities - I'm doing perfectly well living in a rented place and walking to work, but they don't really fit the spirit of the question.

I almost bought my sister a £600 dress for her 21st birthday, but she decided it wasn't nice enough to be worth that much money...

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby elminster » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:01 pm UTC

I guess the few top things would be:
My computer (Being upgraded every so often) - Edit: being the first big thing also
Two ski holidays
Several day music festivals

In general I don't spend very much. I hate novelty items and I always think about the end result of owning something before getting it. Recently I got convinced me to get a gym membership, not because I thought I needed it (Barbell, dumbbells, enough weight plates, a bench and some running shoes give enough for an almost full body workout).

@el_loco_avs: I got one a month and a bit ago, but the deal I got it on and how I use it relatively makes up for the cost. Co-pilot live for sat nav; music player; internet browsing to solve the thousands of questions I have that require google for info to solve them, where it's impractical to have a laptop or access the internet in any other way. Now I'm impatiently waiting for froyo!
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby michaelyw » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:15 pm UTC

I think we're drifting from the OP's question.

The question isn't, what's the BIGGEST piece of discretionary income you've ever spent.
The question was about the FIRST "big" piece of discretionary income you spent.

What qualifies as a big depends on the poster, as does the other qualifier: "on something you didn't really need."

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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Armadillo Al » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:20 pm UTC

I don't remember what I spent it on, but I remember the first time I held a big wad of discretionary income in my hands...my brother and I used to sell Pokemon cards in my parents' video store back when I was in high school (and he in junior high). One day I realized there was nowhere in our small town to buy the cards, so I figured out that I could buy a box of boosters on eBay for something like $2/pack, open the box, and sell the packs at full retail ($3.50 at the time).

By the time we'd had enough and stopped selling the cards, we had several hundred dollars of profit. I can still remember counting it all out, staring at the huge wad of cash in my hand and basking in the awesome feeling of holding, like, $700 in small bills in my hands.

Granted, I'm sure selling cards without a license from WotC was illegal as all hell, but nobody cared.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby Felstaff » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:30 pm UTC

I saved up two years from my job as a 3-wheeled trolley paperboy to buy an electric guitar. It cost ₰99 and I saved ₰1 per week in my grandad's biscuit tin. Then I found out I needed to play a left-handed guitar. The same model cost ₰125 left-handed.

I was so upset.

Then my parents bought me a ¥99 guitar (left-handed Korean Fender Squier Strat sunburst) for my birthday which I still use. I should probably buy a more adult model. But I kinda like the fact I've played it so much the fretboard has eroded in places. I continued saving my paper round money, and bought a ₤160 acoustic Fender six months later. I still have that, too. It's accompanied me to five festivals, and I've broken 3.2 hearts with it.
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Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

Armadillo Al wrote:Granted, I'm sure selling cards without a license from WotC was illegal as all hell, but nobody cared.

Er.. no. Whether you needed a business licenses from your town is debatable, but WotC doesn't have anything like a card selling license. Besides, you were reselling your own property. Not sure why WotC would even care, as they got their money already.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

wishiwasabear
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:32 am UTC

Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby wishiwasabear » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:27 pm UTC

Not a frequent poster, but I've been thinking a lot recently about where my discretionary income goes and that first purchase, so. When I was around 12 or 13 I bought a Wacom Intuous 2 tablet. I actually split the cost with my parents, but I still remember pouring out $150 in crumpled dollar bills and quarters on the kitchen table - most of it was probably from gift money or mowing the lawn. 7 years later, I'm still using it heavily, and the software that came bundled with it. Of course, it's now two models out of date, so I've been debating replacing it, but I don't think I can justify the cost, as I blew a lot of money on going to the UK for a month this summer. For as much as I think about money - a side effect of being a poor college student, I think - I'm pretty shabby at holding on to it. Most of it goes towards food and books, and of course art supplies.

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LongLiveTheDutch
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:17 pm UTC

Re: When did you first spend a big wad of discretionary inco

Postby LongLiveTheDutch » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:05 pm UTC

The first thing I spent a large amount of money on was a pair of inline skates when I was in the 5-7 year old range. I had saved up for a while (I helped my older friend with his paper route and he paid me), and I think my parents probably chipped in half, and I had gotten some money for Christmas/birthday as well. I probably put up $40-$50, which was a lot of money to me.

They were good skates, I had lots of fun on them.

When I was 13-14 I bought a BMX bike that cost me $450. This was another big purchase as my income consisted of my own paper route that paid $40ish a month. It was later stolen the first time I rode it to school in Grade 12. Jerks.

Those were my biggest purchases before I had steady income.


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