Money well spent

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that we are quite frugal. After all, we spent less than $45k CAN in 2016 (that’s around $34k USD, quite respectable when compared to Mr. Money Mustache’s $30k USD 2016 expenses). However being frugal doesn’t mean we don’t spend any money. Lately I have encountered a couple of events that I simply said “money well spent” and felt happy and content.

#1 Will – $560

When Mrs. T was pregnant with Baby T1.0, we both signed up for the 25 year term insurance to make sure we are covered if the unthinkable was to happen. We talked about getting our wills done but never managed to do it. We went as far as sitting down with a lawyer to talk about our wills, getting all the documents that we needed to fill out, and getting a quote of $500 per person. I was a bit hesitant to spend over $1,000 for some legal documents.

Years went by. Baby T1.0 was born, I got Mrs. T pregnant (it was planned! 🙂 ), then Baby T2.0 was born. We still had no wills. Mrs. T kept reminding me that we had to get our wills done. I was again hesitant about paying a lawyer that much money. At the same time, I wasn’t sure who would be the suitable guardian, and who would act as our executor.

One day, Mrs. T was talking to one of the moms we know about having our wills done. As it turned out, this mom’s husband is a lawyer and was willing to give us a “friendly” rate. So we booked an appointment to see him, figured out what needed to be on our wills, and sent all the information to him. A few weeks later, after some corrections on the draft wills, we went back to the lawyer’s office to get the legal documents signed. The price turned out to be $500 + taxes, or $560 in total. Although it was still expensive, it was much cheaper than any other places that we have checked (one place quoted us $1,600). It was also good to know that the wills were done in such a way that we shouldn’t need to change them in the foreseeable future.

After 4 years, we finally got our wills done. Money well spent? Yes!


#2 Private Swim Lessons ~$40 per lesson

When Baby T1.0 turned one, we enrolled him in swim lessons. The company that runs these lessons offers customized, small-group or one-on-one lessons that allow students to learn to swim in 1/4 of the time of typical public swim lessons. At ~$40 per lesson, the lessons are quite expensive. Fortunately, these lessons were very effective. Baby T1.0 was very fond of swimming and loved spending time in the water.

When Baby T1.0 turned 2 we stopped swimming lessons for about 6 months due to schedule conflicts. We have heard that kids typically develop fear of water between the age of 2 and 3. Given that he loved swimming, we thought he would be fine.

When we started swimming lesson with Baby T1.0 again when he was almost 3, he would make a huge fuss about going to swimming. The first few lessons he would cry and didn’t want to go into the pool. But after 5 or so lessons, he was loving every minute of it.

Because I missed the show-and-tell classes and haven’t went swimming with Baby T1.0 in a while, I have not seen him swimming in person. The past weekend we decided to go to the pool and Baby T1.0 was very excited about showing me what he could do.

When we go into the pool, Baby T1.0 immediately put his head in the water and started swimming right away (with a floating belt). Later we took off the floating belt and he was swimming around with two swimming marshmallow sticks. He was swimming around without a life jacket and was having tons of fun. Just when we were ready to leave, Baby T1.0 decided to swimming to the stairs all by himself, without any floating devices. He managed to swim about 3 meters. I was stunned. Words couldn’t describe how proud and happy I was seeing how well my 3.5 year old son could swim.

Money well spent? Absolutely. We have enrolled Baby T1.0 for another set of lessons in the fall and Baby T2.0 will start as well.


Final Thoughts

These are two most recent examples that I simply told myself, money well spent. While it’s important to be frugal, spending money when it’s necessary is just as important. Although we have spent a large sum of money in the two examples above, in the long run, I believe both of them will worth every single penny.


Dear readers, do you have any occurrence(s) that you said to yourself “money well spent?”

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42 thoughts on “Money well spent”

  1. For those only needing a simple will (no complicated stuff to leave), they can find out which Walmart near them has a legal office in it (ONTARIO only I believe). These wills are only $109.00 before tax. You can also get your POA’s Powers of Attorney for Property and for Health there as well for another low cost.

    • Jan,

      Thank you for pointing out Axess Legal Services offered through Walmart at at greatly reduced rate. I didn’t even know this existed, and I shop fairly frequently at Walmart, but turns out there isn’t an Axess at the location I go to.

      My current situation is fairly straightforward so I think I may just go through them, so again thank you!

      I am just curious, if you were aware of Axess @ Walmart, why didn’t you seek their service? Is your situation more complicated?

      • Hi Vito, yes our situation is more complex. But for someone who needs a straight forward simple will, Axess will most likely be exactly what they need. But make sure you get the Powers of Attorney for both Health and Finances (Property) done too. This is for in case you are unable to make those decisions for yourself, such as if you had a stroke or went into a coma, etc. You can read about them online. You don’t want the government to be your caretaker. This video will show you why (hope it is allowed) I did a lot of reading research, googling, and youtubing in the last couple of months!

  2. Hopefully everyone who is “thinking” of getting their will done realizes that wills are only good if you are dead. You also need Powers of Attorney (POA) for both your finances and your health. These are good if you have a stoke and cannot communicate your thoughts and look after your financial affairs and need someone to do so for you. The same for your health choices. You really all need to get these too. If you were to have a stroke or go into a coma tomorrow, do you think anyone can look after your finances for you? Nope, but the government will do it for you, if you do not have a POA. You really don’t want the government looking after you, do you? Do the research and the actual work now, or your family will suffer after.

      • You got an excellent price for all of that! In Toronto my husband and I just got our Wills and POAs done for a joint cost of about $1000.00 before taxes. Last time we did our wills was 22 years ago when our first born was about 1 and our second child not born yet. It was absolutely too long a wait between wills but we finally did it and now i feel a lot better. Four books I recently read (I borrowed them from the Toronto Library so no charge to read) before we did our wills are all written by Barry Fish and Les Kotzer, two wills lawyers. See if your library has them as they will open your eyes to what the heck can happen to families when it comes to end of life decisions. They are entitled: The Wills Lawyers; Where There’s An Inheritance; The Family War; and the Family Fight. I had overheard my mother talking about not so nice things that happened in her own family when her Aunt died several years ago, but then I read these four books and found out horrible things happen to lots of other families as well. These books will inspire many people to get the heck into a lawyer and get their wills done asap. You do not want wars in your own family if you do not spell out, on paper, exactly what you want to happen when you pass away.

        • Thanks Jan, will take a look at these books that you suggested. Yea I’ve heard that a lot of families end up with wars and trouble times when they try to figure out the inheritance.

  3. Excellent stuff. I love reading stories like these. Being frugal is different than being cheap. You spend wisely and spend effectively on the things that matter and important to you. My wife and I will be following suit as we look towards starting a family, and I’m always interested to read how other frugal minded parents navigate parenthood.

    Take care!


  4. Estate planning is definitely money well spent. It’s not worth it to cut costs and skip out on professional advice because there are so many details that you don’t want to screw up. Not having a well put together estate plan will almost always cost more in the long run and cause a lot of headaches for your executor.
    I don’t have any kids to enrol in swimming lessons yet but I’m sure glad my parents did it for me when I was little, you never want to be that one kid that doesn’t know how to swim 😉

    • Definitely, good to get things lined up to make sure you’re all covered. That’s great that you can swim without any issues. It’s a shame to see an adult that cannot swim.

  5. Nice one Tawcan!

    I am based in the UK, and currently paying for my teenage daughter’s driving lessons! Costing quite a bit because on average driving schools here charge £25 (about US$32) per hour! But it’s money well spent, even if its currently hurting my pocket!

    Keep up the good work!

    Best regards,


  6. Absolutely! If money is well spent the return on investment is measurable, nearly immediate, and very long lasting.

    In the case of swimming lessons, you kids will use that skill for a lifetime. I had similar thoughts for my own kids, and we have our oldest signed up for swim lessons this summer.!

  7. Awesome! I need to do a will myself! Currently it’s just, “My wife gets everything.” Which, I’m actually ok with for the most part! Thanks Tawcan,

    Passive Income Dude

    • Hi Dan,

      Wife gets everything sounds like a good plan if you guys don’t have any kids. Once you have kids it gets a bit complicated (you also need to consider when kids have their kids too). I’m glad that our lawyer covered all the different scenarios in our will.

  8. Nice work Tawcan. Swimming was one of the best skills I learnt as a kid. It’s reassuring to know if I ever need to, I can swim at least two km’s, plus it’s a lot of fun. Some of the best money I’ve ever spent was my first holiday to Europe – Austria and Hungary – last year and the money spent to set up my business (legal documents). The trip is simply the best thing I’ve ever done and the legal documents have already paid for themselves via tax reductions due to the business structure.

    • When I look at how Mrs. T and some of my friends swim, I wish I can be a better swimmer (at least with free style). So yes I’m happy that Baby T1.0 is already swimming quite well at 3.5 years old.

      Spending money on travel experience is totally worth it. I would love to go to Budapest one of these days.

  9. We’re getting ready to go in for an updated will. I am hoping I can beat 1000 dollars, 500 appears to be a steal.

    We do the swim lessons as well. Given our oldest has zero fear of the water it’s not only a good life skill, it’s probably imperative to my sons life.

    • We thought $500 was quite a bit for a couple hours of lawyer’s work but I guess lawyers charge high hourly rate.

      Learning how to swimming is definitely a good life skill to have. We want our kids to feel comfortable around water.

  10. Great post! I’ve often wondered if getting a will done in my specific case is worth it or not. I’m single, no kids, my investments are in both non-registered and registered accounts.

    With registered accounts, I’ve simply set a declared primary and contingent beneficiary so the need for a will I believe is pointless. However, I do have non-registered accounts where I buy stocks, this would be the only necessary time where a will would come in, but do I really need one? Can I not simply make a written OR video statement of my intent which shows I am of sound mind and what my wishes are? I also have some money in cash that I’ve kept as an emergency fund and other, but again, in my specific circumstances where there is no spouse/common law or kids, is it really that necessary?

  11. Excellent! This just goes to show that living frugally doesn’t mean you don’t spend money. Our whole approach to money has been to cut out the junk and spend money where it matters. For example, we’ll spend money on experiences or the (very occasional) nice restaurant meal, but we won’t spend money on a cable package or new car.

  12. Making a will is great – it is such an important and responsible thing to do! If you are dead / injured it is the only way, you can ensure your children are cared for, how you want them to be. Here’s hoping it is never needed!

    Teaching your child to swim is money well spent, because you have vastly increased his chances of surviving a water incident.

    • Yea, here’s hoping nothing will ever happen. *Knock on wood* 🙂

      Baby T1.0 was telling me the other day what to do if you fall into the water… “swim to the wall and get up.” It’s comforting to hear that from him.

  13. There is many things that I consider money well spent. Most of it comes down to the quality vs price controversy. Sometimes the high quality item is worth paying a little bit more for it. I would much rather pay a premium for something that I can use for 10 years over a cheap item that I have to keep replacing every year.

    • Exactly, quality over price. What would you rather do? Pay for $20 for a pair of shoes that would last 2 months or pay for $50 for a pair of shoes that would last a year? When you average out the per day price, it makes way more sense to buy a higher priced and higher quality item.

  14. Spending money is not bad by definition. The 2 cases you mention are indeed useful.

    we also pay for swimming lessons in small groups for our kids. It takes time and skill to teach them. Others are better at that than me.

  15. We finally got a will in place and the sense of relief we felt as we walked out of the lawyers office was pretty incredible. It has given us a sense of peace knowing that if the unthinkable happens, we have planned and prepared so our wishes will be followed.

  16. We are doing the private swim lessons as well. In our case, it’s semi-private since we have our 3 and 4 year olds with one teacher. We even have a swim lesson today, in just a few hours.

    It’s working out great. The 4 year old was afraid of water last year, but now he’s much better after just a few classes.

    My hope is that they can graduate to a bigger swim class soon that’s cheaper. I don’t want to mess with what’s working, but our idea with going private was to conquer the fear of the water.

    • We’ve been doing private and semi-private. Some classes Baby T1.0 is with other kids and some he’s there by himself with the teacher. In the fall we’ll have both kids in the class. It’s really impressive how much Baby T1.0 managed to learn with these lessons. We plan to move him to bigger swim classes eventually to save some money too. But for now, not going to mess around with what’s working.

  17. Yeap, that’s money well spent. Swimming lessons are great. Kids never listen to their parents. A coach/teacher is much better for these things. Great job with the Will.

  18. Money well spent indeed. We need to update our estate stuff in the next year or two also. It’s one of those things you don’t really think about, until you need it. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard about folks that didn’t update wills and stuff, adn then ex spouses ended up with their money…..and messy lawsuits. Better to plan ahead and be prepared. There is enough emotion in losing a loved one, without bringing estate drama into it.

    Hope you guys are having a great summer

    • Thanks Bryan. Enjoying the summer for sure, looks like you are too.

      Will is a bit funny, you hope you don’t need it any time soon but it’s important to get it done. It’s better to plan ahead just so you got everything covered.


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