Eleven years ago, I needed a new bike. At the time, I rode a lot. I was in a big group of relatively competitive riders, and we’d often put hundreds of miles on our bikes each week. I agonized over what bike to buy, but I kept coming back to one made by a company called Moots, a Colorado company that builds titanium road and mountain bikes by hand.
The father of a good friend of mine had a Moots bike when I was growing up, and it made me salivate. The problem was, they were really expensive. Like, “far more money than I ever considered spending on a bike” expensive. Maybe $5,000 or so back then.
But the more I looked into it, the more I was convinced I had to have this bike. After putting myself through the painful process of shopping around, comparing prices and looking at models that I didn’t really want, I pulled the trigger.
Following weeks of buyer’s remorse that more closely resembled terror, I came to realize something that is going to sound crazy. Buying this incredibly expensive bike was one of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made. I understand that writing $5,000 and the words “bike” and “smart financial decision” all in the same sentence sounds absurd, but it’s not.
This was a fantastic, rational, smart financial decision. And I know that goes against everything you’ve heard from every personal finance adviser out there. They’re always telling you how to save money, how to reduce expenses, how to buy cheaper. Right? Cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. What I’m saying is, that’s a shortsighted message that we need to change. Here are the reasons.
So, I hereby give you permission to consider buying the things you really love — things that may be two, three or perhaps even four times more expensive than a similar product. I am asking you to consider the possibility that buying stuff you love, regardless of price, may be the best decision you can make.
Consider that if you love it and you’ll use it, you’ll save not only money but retain the cognitive and emotional energy you would have used to replace the thing once a year. You’ve heard of “buy nice, or buy twice,” right? Well this is a derivative of that idea. But don’t just buy nice, buy what you love. If you don’t, you’ll end up hating, and replacing, until you do.
This commentary originally appeared December 21 on NYTimes.com
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