Expensive things I bought that save money


I know that those in the FIRE community aim to live as frugally and as meaningfully as possible… but is there something that you’ve spent $$ on, even though others in the community might frown upon the purchase?

Previously I have published a post on 10 things I would NEVER buy, so today I am doing the opposite to explain‍ a heap of the pricey things I’ve bought that have provided me loads of joy and saved me money in the long term‍, making them fantastic value and the ultimate frugal splurge.

If you follow the blog for a while you will probably find this a bit of a surprise, because I come across like I never spend money on anything. Let me know if anything here shocks you 😂

I have chucked in Links to Amazon in this post, which if you click through a small percentage of any sale will go to supporting the CaptainFI blog – so thank-you if you do. Make sure you check Gumtree and Facebook marketplace for any bargain second hand deals before buying on Amazon

LifeProof phone case

This is probably the best investment I have ever made. I still have an old iPhone and credit to the LifeProof case, it has had a bloody hard life.

How it saved me money: I have not had to replace a phone in over 7 years

LifeProof NEXT SERIES Case for iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 Pro - NAPA (CLEAR/GRAPEADE)
  • Perfect Fit for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro: Precision-engineered exclusively for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, this OtterBox case offers a flawless fit. It not only preserves your phone's sleek design but also ensures unparalleled protection against everyday hazards.
  • Survives: drops from 2 meters
  • Formed: for a slim profile + direct touch (SCREENLESS)
  • Shields: ports, mic, and speakers
  • Proper installation of a LifeProof product is important to successful use so please review the installation video and check the user manual to ensure correct installation Includes LifeProof 1-year limited warranty (see website for details)

LifeProof iPad case

This is probably the best investment I have ever made. I still have an old iPad and credit to the LifeProof case, it has had a bloody hard life.

How it saved me money: I have not had to replace my iPad in over 10 years

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Electric Shaver

Read my article about shaving years off from your financial independence? A good quality electric shaver is how I do it.

How it saved me money: I do not have to buy expensive razors or shaving cream, and this thing uses barely any power

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Hair clippers

Read my article about shaving your way to financial independence? A good quality buzz cut shaver is how I do it.

How it saved me money: I do not have to buy expensive haircuts anymore

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RM Williams leather boots

RM Williams leather boots – a seriously fantastic purchase, they’re insane quality (lasted over 10 years so far) and I wear them every day

How it saved me money: I have not had to buy replacement boots in over 12 years (but I did get them re soled as I wore the heels out)

R.M. Williams Men's Comfort RM Boots, Chestnut, Brown, 8 Medium US
  • Rubber sole
  • Inset elastic ankle panels, Branded woven heel loops at the cuff, Stacked heel
  • Chelsea boots
  • Casual
  • Rounded toe

Leatherman Multi tool‍

Leatherman multi tool always comes with me in my flight bag, back pack or pocket and is super useful

How it saved me money: I do not need to buy other tools, and it has saved me time on a number of occasions when I needed to make small repairs to the aircraft (don’t stress – I don’t perform illegal maintenance and there is a bunch of little stuff pilots are allowed to fix on the aircraft instead of calling maintenance).

LEATHERMAN, Wingman Multitool with Spring-Action Pliers and Scissors, Stainless Steel with Nylon Sheath
  • ONE OF OUR BEST: A classic, designed and assembled with premium materials; The Wingman is your go-to tool for projects around the house, on the job or at the campsite
  • 14 TOOLS IN 1: Equipped with 14 tools to handle almost anything: knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, a wire stripper, scissors, a package opener, bottle and can openers, a file and a ruler
  • OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
  • ONE-HAND OPENING: Open all the tools with one hand, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside; And with a locking blade, you can cut with confidence
  • ALWAYS ON HAND: With its compact size, lightweight design and removable pocket clip, your Wingman is always within reach and ready to work

Bose A20 Aviation headset

Bose A20 aviation headset – the most comfortable headset I have ever flown with.

How it saved me money: Reduces fatigue, lets me fly longer, and it doesn’t wear out like the cheap and nasty headsets I have flown with before.

Bose A20 Aviation wired Headset with Standard Dual Plug Cable, Black
  • 30% greater active noise reduction than conventional aviation headsets
  • 30% less clamping force than conventional aviation headsets
  • Clear audio with active equalization.Automatically shapes and equalizes incoming signals for enhanced clarity and intelligibility
  • Customizable audio prioritization control lets you mute an audio signal when receiving a communication, or mix the two together
  • Connectivity technology : Wired

Bose Soundsport Ear buds

Bose SoundSport ear buds – They are comfy, produce great quality sound, have a really long battery life and blocks out the terrible radio stations played at gyms‍. They are also waterproof and sweat proof and honestly probably one of my favourite gadgets I own.

How it saved me money: I don’t have to ruin my expensive Bluetooth over ear Bose headphones with sweat from the gym, or if its raining when running.

Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds-Bluetooth Wireless Earphones, Triple Black
  • Noise cancelling earbuds – Engineered with the world-class noise cancelling. Bose controllable noise cancellation and full Transparency Mode allow you to eliminate distractions, let your surroundings in, or a little bit of each..Note : If the size of the earbud tips does not match the size of your ear canals or the headset is not worn properly in your ears, you may not obtain the correct sound qualities or call performance. Change the earbud tips to ones that fit more snugly in your ears
  • High-fidelity audio – An exclusive acoustic architecture brings your music, podcasts, and videos to life, while Volume-optimized Active EQ keeps the sound crisp and balanced at any level.
  • Comfortable wireless earbuds – Three sizes of StayHear Max eartips are included for a secure fit. Crafted from soft silicone, they provide passive noise blocking with total comfort.
  • Simple touch controls – It’s as easy as tap, swipe, or press. Control your noise cancellation settings, pause, play, and volume right from the side of the earbud itself. Enable it all in the Bose Music app.
  • Noise-rejecting microphones – Tiny microphones work together to focus on your voice, filtering out surrounding noises for fewer distractions during phone calls.

Electric mountain e-bike

Electric mountain e-bike – this is bloody fantastic and I use it to get around, including ride to work. I was a bit frugal with this one though and did buy it second hand (original RRP $7000+!)‍ and it rides like a dream

How it saves me money: I ride it to the shops and work instead of driving, and I can charge the battery for free at work whilst I am flying!

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LED bike lights

Essential for riding at night, or even Dawn or Dusk. Dont bother with anything other than a decent LED light from CatEye. I also bought red flashing tail lights too.

How it saves me money: By not being hit by cars when riding my bike at night I have saved at least some money

CATEYE, AMPP500 Rechargeable Bike Headlight, High Power LED, 500 Lumens, with Micro USB Cable
  • High power headlight: Ride into the night with a high intensity white LED equipped with OptiCube lens technology for a wide beam; Features excellent side visibility for safety
  • USB rechargeable: Runs up to 50 hours and charges in just 4-8 hours with the included micro USB cable; Low battery indicator lights up when it's under 20% battery so you're never left in the dark
  • 4 light modes: Ride any time of day with 4 light modes (High, Low, Daytime HyperConstant and Flashing) and mode memory function; Quickly change to High with a double-click of the power button
  • Easy on and off: Includes adjustable FlexTight bracket that fits handlebars up to 35 mm in diameter; Our improved release button makes it easy to take the light off to charge
  • Heavy duty design: Durable aluminum alloy body with a streamlined style that looks good on any bike; Measures 1.3 x 3.9 x 1.5 in (34 x 100 x 37 mm) and weighs 0.26 lbs (117 g)

High performance Laptop

Fully specc’ed up – I bought this on sale from JB Hi-Fi when I started my undergrad uni studies in 2009, and then paid to upgrade the RAM (a whole 2GB lol!). This 13-year-old laptop now powers the CaptainFI Blog

How it saved me money: By paying a lot initially for a quality laptop that was overspec’d, I did not need to replace it. For those technically savvy out there, I have upgraded the operating system a few times (bouncing between linux and back) and this alone helps to lengthen the lifespan of the laptop

Apple 2019 MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage, 2.3GHz Intel Core i9) - Space Gray
  • Ninth-generation 8-Core Intel Core i9 Processor
  • Stunning 16-inch Retina Display with True Tone technology
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M Graphics with GDDR6 memory
  • Ultrafast SSD

Apple iPad

Rather than buying magazines, I use my iPad to surf the web and read FIRE blogs. I also use it with OzRunways which provides me extra situational awareness when flying (it is part of my Electronic Flight Bag). I also unwind by streaming or learning new skills YouTube (like how to service my car and being my own mechanic has saved me thousands)

How it saved me money: Not buying magazine subscriptions, helps me with DIY projects, makes me more productive at work

Apple 2020 iPad (10.2-inch, Wi-Fi, 32GB) - Space Gray (8th Generation)
  • Gorgeous 10.2-inch Retina display
  • A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • Support for Apple Pencil (1st generation) and Smart Keyboard
  • 8MP back camera, 1.2MP FaceTime HD front camera
  • Stereo speakers

Bose Noise cancelling headphones

Bose noise cancelling earphones- AMAZING for when I was studying for my last degree and just needed to block out anyone in the office. Just dont wear them at the gym

How they saved me money: COUNTLESS hours of productivity gained from the noise cancelling aspect.

Bose Headphones 700, Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Over-Ear Wireless Headphones with Built-In Microphone for Clear Calls and Alexa Voice Control, Black
  • POWERFUL NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES: 11 levels of active noise cancelling let you enjoy music, podcasts, videos & calls without distractions
  • ASTONISHING SOUND: Crisp, clear details. Deep, full bass. These wireless headphones produce exciting, lifelike sound that’s full and balanced at every volume level
  • UNRIVALED VOICE PICKUP: A revolutionary microphone system adapts to noisy and windy environments so your voice always sounds crystal clear on calls
  • KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND HANDS FREE: With easy access to voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant for music, navigation, weather, and more, and intuitive touch control on the earcups — you can stay connected without reaching for your phone
  • PREMIUM DESIGN AND COMFORT: With a lightweight stainless steel headband and earcups tilted for the perfect fit, you can comfortably wear these bluetooth headphones for hours

Doterra diffuser and oils

Look who knows if this shit works but it seems to help keep me calm, unwind and be well rested for work to boost productivity. Also makes my apartment smell good in case I invite ladies over to my bachelor pad 😂

How it saves me money: Increased productivity and better rest means I work harder.

doTERRA - Petal Diffuser
  • Substantial mist output helps purify and humidify the air.
  • 1, 2, and 4 hour diffuser settings. Optional LED light.
  • Ultra-fine mist reaches up to 330 square feet
  • Simple, 3-piece diffuser is easy and convenient to use.
  • Stable and light for the many spaces in your life.

Bose Noise portable Bluetooth speaker

It pairs to my iPhone for music on the go and is light so I can take it with me flying, road trips, beach, camping etc, and when when home I just connect it to my TV / Google chromecast and I can stream Netflix / YouTube etc.

How it saved me money: I literally sold my massive home theatre system (which took up heaps of space) for thousands of dollars and replaced it with this high quality portable Bluetooth speaker.

Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker: Small Portable Waterproof Speaker with Microphone, Black
  • BOSE WATERPROOF SPEAKER: Small but powerful, the Bose SoundLInk Micro Bluetooth speaker produces loud, clear sound with shockingly deep bass. It packs a custom-designed transducer and passive radiators for crisp, balanced sound, WATERPROOF AND DUSTPROOF (IP67)
  • TEAR-RESISTANT STRAP: This small portable speaker comes equipped with an easy-to-use, tear-resistant silicone strap. Secure it to your backpack, beach cooler, or handlebars, and the reliable strap will hold tight through shocks and shakes
  • RUGGED OUTDOOR SPEAKER: Constructed from durable materials, including a rubberized silicone exterior, SoundLink Micro resists drops, dents, cracks, and scratches. Plus, its soft-touch finish almost never shows a mark
  • WATERPROOF SPEAKER: The SoundLink Micro Bluetooth speaker has been rigorously tested to meet an IP67 rating. It’s waterproof, dustproof, and protected from extreme temperatures, liquids, and other substances
  • LONG-LASTING BATTERY: This small outdoor speaker comes with a powerful lithium-ion battery. Enjoy up to 6 hours of music and charge anytime via the included Micro-USB cable

Station Wagon

Station wagon ($20,000) – I bought this 6-year-old car second hand in 2013 with 20,000 kms on the clock, gave it a complete overhaul and it has served me well for 8 years! This 14-year-old wagon is still the best car I have ever had, and still looks and drives brand new

Sharesight Premium

Seriously, Sharesight wasn’t ever not going to make the list of purchases that made my life easier 🤣

Tent and camping gear

I actually have a full suite of camping gear – a Tent, Shower bag and ensuite tent, Dutch (camp) oven, camping stove etc you name it!

How it saves me money: When I go on road trips I take my camping gear instead of paying for hotels or motels along the way!

Coleman Sundome Camping Tent, 2/3/4/6 Person Dome Tent with Snag-Free Poles for Easy Setup in Under 10 Mins, Included Rainfly Blocks Wind & Rain, Tent for Camping, Festivals, Backyard, Sleepovers
  • Dome tent with a sturdy frame that withstands 35+ mph winds
  • Easy setup in only 10 minutes. Good for backpacking
  • Weathertec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry
  • Large windows and a ground vent for superior ventilation
  • Measures 7 x 5 feet with 4-foot center height

Nutri bullet blender

If you have protein shakes like I do (I use organic vegan pea protein just to be safe – my doctors recommendation) then you will hate clumps when you use your shakers. I just blitz my post workout shakes in my nutribullet, and its also great for making cocktails

How it saves me money: Compact and does the job of a larger blender which can cost literally hundreds.

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Running shoes

I replace my running shoes every year with high quality expensive shoes selected by my podiatrist, and probably put about 1000km on them every year. I can stretch it longer and I do have special orthotics to help provide more arch support, but the podiatrist recommends replacing them every 6 months – of course she would say that though, she is part of ‘big footwear’ and its a conspiracy to make us spend more 😂

How it saves me money: Not replacing shitty ones that fall apart after a few hundred kms. Bonus side tip: Not trashing them by wearing them in the gym weightlifting makes them last longer, too!

Weightlifting shoes

It might be a massive wank and a weird flex, but these shoes are great for Squats and Deadlifts. Recommended by my physiotherapist, podiatrist and an e

How it saves me money: Keeps my runners purely for running, so I dont need to replace them as often.

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These have been some of the most expensive things I own, which have really improved my quality of life and saved me money. What have you spent money on that you don’t regret?

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2 thoughts on “Expensive things I bought that save money

  1. Great article! As a female, I don’t need some of these products! My husband though has changed over his shaver items to more old school methods and loves it! He also has an electric shaver too as he already had this. Another tip could be chatting to your grandparents or oldies in general and see if you can learn tips from them. They did this money hacking style of stuff for other reasons yet for the same benefits we do it for! Good electronic equipment and a nice pair of well purchased sneakers are awesome items to have and look after!

    1. I wish I could still chat to my grandparents. Unfortunately they have all passed, so I am making the most of the lessons I can get out of my parents while they are still alive. Thankfully I have strong, frugal scottish genes 😂 Taking care of the items is my number one tip to save money though, because then you don’t have to replace it

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