That One Day I Blew Money In Philly

Spending money doesn’t always come easy when you’re dedicated to early retirement.  Since hopping on this bandwagon we have become increasingly more aware of where every dollar goes and where every dollar could go.  In a concerted effort to retire in 2021, our household has cut all frivelous spending from our non-budget.  Every frivelous expense is axed in an effort to pay off debt and increase investments.  There are, however, a few exceptions…

The Decision

A few weeks ago, my sister and niece stopped over to visit and we had a fabulous Sunday afternoon sprinkled with beer, cats and zombies.  During that impromptu afternoon, I was invited to join them on a day trip to Philly to visit the Mutter Museum on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I was flattered that they thought their planned trip would be enhanced by my company.  I told them I would think about it.  As you know, Mr. MMM and I don’t do budgets, instead we analyze each and every expenditure.

Philly 2

The Mutter Museum Entrance

My YES decision didn’t come lightly.  Years ago, I would’ve jumped at the chance without giving it a second thought.  After all, I had a good salary, I could afford it.  Uh huh.  Well, that was true when I was accepting the traditional retirement trajectory.  I’d like to think I’ve matured since then.



“Memories light the corners of my mind.  Misty water-colored memories of the way we were…”  Oh Barbra Streisand!

And now, I’m showing my age.  In my defense, this is a song my mother would play over and over again.  I’m not that old 😛  Not that there is anything wrong with anyone who is 🙂

As cliche as those lyrics are, they’re true.  Growing up, we were too poor to afford vacations.  There were times we drove to the beach for one day.  Six hours of our day was consumed by travel.  But those days resulted in some of the best family memories I have.  Vacations are expensive, but they make memories.  They make memories with our loved ones.  Isn’t one of the main goals of financial independence to free our time?  Achieving financial independence will allow us to spend more of our time with the people we love, whether that be a spouse, a partner, a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a cousin, or a friend.  Yes, it also allows more time to pursue other passions, but in my opinion, the former trumps the latter.

Philly 3

I saw this opportunity to blow cash on a one day vacation as a way to spend precious time with my sister and niece.  So I jumped on it!  After deliberating for days upon days to decide if the cost was worth the experience, of course.


“Remember that freezing cold day we hopped a train to Philly and were fascinated by the gross exhibits at the Mutter Museum?  Remember how many beers we had to drink afterwards to forget about our impending mortality?  That day was so much fun!”         -My Future Self

The Long Road To Financial Freedom

The road to financial freedom is long.  We will get there, but we’ve also realized that we must make the years we spend getting there worth living.  We certainly do not take EVERY opportunity to spend money.  Instead, we choose to analyze each opportunity and determine if it’s worth our hard-earned money.  Usually it’s not. Sometimes it is.

What do you spend money on that enhances your life?

Bailey Gato BW

MMC – Minimal Style

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John Jan 24, 2016, 7:53 am

    Great reminder that life is more than just dollars and cents. We’re sure to include in our monthly spending plan some “blow” money (for our own wants) and “entertainment” money (for joint activities) to keep some “life” in our lives. Otherwise, a natural saver like me would squirrel away every dime!

    Thanks for your post!


    • Mad Money Monster Jan 24, 2016, 8:15 pm

      It’s difficult for us to not save every dime, too, especially since hitting the road to FI! But, we find that indulging here and there is what makes the journey enjoyable!

  • Rob @ MoneyNomad Jan 24, 2016, 3:02 am

    I like your philosophy of focusing on each purchase – that’s pretty much what I do. However, do you specify how much to spend on fun/leisure activities? I feel like it could be easy to get too carried away (or stay too frugal) if you don’t have any estimated budget for fun.

    Great blog and I look forward to reading more!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 24, 2016, 8:14 pm

      We hold to a “loose” budget, but think it’s nearly impossible to put every dollar on paper before the month starts. And, I found that if I have X number of dollars budgeted for eating out, I’ll spend that exact amount on eating out. Or worse, I’ll borrow some from our grocery budget to go get a pizza at our favorite shop. Yikes. We generally target a fun activity and make sure we set aside the money for it, on purpose. Each event or opportunity has a price tag. Deciding if it’s worth the cost is the trick 🙂

  • Mortimer Jan 23, 2016, 5:30 pm

    Love it—especially the part where you weigh whether it is worth it. This is exactly how people should be thinking about spending their life energy. If it’s worth it, go for it! It’s also helpful to know what your time is worth and how long it actually takes you to earn that money, which is why I created this true wage calculator to help weigh just these decisions. Thanks for sharing your awesome day and the even more awesome reasons behind why you had it!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 24, 2016, 8:06 pm

      Nice work on the calculator! I really enjoyed the day and don’t regretting spending one dime.

  • Generation YRA Jan 22, 2016, 6:54 pm

    I can be so guilty of poring over my spending choices in the present to ensure I have enough for the future. But here’s the thing – some things I really enjoy now if I choose to forgo, I more than likely will not like in the future (and I missed out on those chances)! For example: my fiancé & I love live music/shows & that brings value to our life. Would I enjoy going to a live reggae concert outdoors in my later years? Maybe, but probably not as much as I would enjoy it now! Would I have the opportunity to attend a friend’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas in retirement? There’s a potential, but let’s live it up in my 20’s now as long as I’ve saved for it! It’s great to ask yourself that question before making purchases. 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 24, 2016, 8:04 pm

      That’s also a very good way of looking at things. It’s true that things we enjoy now we won’t enjoy as much, or be able to enjoy in the future. Allowing ourselves to indulge here and there is necessary. 🙂

  • Mrs Groovy Jan 22, 2016, 4:00 pm

    I’m so old I remember SINGING that song in a wedding band! And not to be a know-it-all but it’s – Memories LIKE the corners of my mind (although your lyric is better). Great post. I’m so glad you had a good time. Still luv, luv, luving the way your site looks!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 22, 2016, 4:32 pm

      Hmmm…We can blame Google for that misinformation 😀 Thanks for the compliment on the site! We’re working hard to make it more “us”.

  • Mike @ Tip Yourself Jan 22, 2016, 9:33 am

    That’s a great way to evaluate an spending decision. “Will this spend enhance my life?’ – Love it.

    No one can tell us what is or is not “worth” the money. It’s a personal decision we each need to make. Life is to be lived, both in the present and in consideration of the future. cheers

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 22, 2016, 10:09 am

      I completely agree. Each person must decide what is valuable to them. If we only spend money on things that are truly valuable in our lives, we will find that our lives are enhanced-even if we are frugal!

  • Kate Jan 22, 2016, 9:11 am

    A friend and I always joke that we get so focused on the end goal of retirement that we forget to live in the present. But it’s experiences like this that make life worth living so I’m glad that you decided to do it 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 22, 2016, 10:07 am

      Exactly! There are times when spending some cash will improve our lives!

  • ouellettem Jan 22, 2016, 7:41 am

    Good decision 😃! Thank you for that post!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 22, 2016, 8:22 am

      Thank you! Yeah, it felt good to let loose and spend some money to relax and make memories that day.

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