4 Best Ways I Have Ever Spent My Money

4 Best Ways I Have Ever Spent My Money

We have all made numerous purchases throughout our lives. Some were necessary—food, for one—but others were inessential purchases that we cannot even remember enjoying. Working part-time has made me more attentive to each dollar is spent. Even with this mindset, however, sometimes my money truly was well-spent:

Hunter Buddy Forest

247994_1795689091164_5992406_n When I was little, my parents said that I could not have a pet unless I bought one myself. So I took them at their word. After saving $200, I rescued Hunter through Operation Greyhound. My life is undeniably better for having had him as my first roommate.

Italy

 

Spanish Steps

I ended up staying longer in Venice by myself after traipsing through Rome with some friends. There’s something about traveling alone that deeply ingrains independence and I would love do it again soon.

 

Escape Room

 

My roommate extolled the virtues of escape rooms to me for a while before I finally went with a group of friends. It was so much fun that I dragged my little cousin and aunt to go with me a second time. An hour of bonding through constant action and lots of puzzles was well worth the $28. In fact, since then, I have been looking into starting an escape room side hustle. If anyone has any tips, please let me know!

 

Nancy Drew Games

 

These games bring me so much nostalgia. My cousin and I always buy them whenever they are on sale and play them together. It is probably because of these games that I enjoy escape rooms so much.

 

Of course, there were many things that I bought over the years. Clothes, food, etc. But over time, those purchases fade away. Rather than accumulating forgotten items, I would much rather embark on unforgettable experiences.

Crab Futures

Crab Futures

Warning: A crab is caught and eaten in the making of this story. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

Since her arrival in Oregon, my mother has been extremely excited about going crabbing. She would recount the tales of her childhood crabbing expeditions fondly, recalling a time of warm, fuzzy family memories.

To be honest, I was not as thrilled as she was with the prospect of crabbing. It seemed like a useful skill to know for the zombie apocalypse, but the prospect of a crab pinching my fingers was very discouraging. In fact, my mom’s Facebook post captures the extent of my crabbing inclination:

crabfutures

My parents came home yesterday with a shellfish license though so there was no room to negotiate.

But since this is a personal finance blog, this isn’t just about crabbing. The title of this post is “Crab Futures,” after all. What do futures have to do with crabs?

Google’s beautifully concise definition of futures (a.k.a. futures contract) as “an agreement traded on an organized exchange to buy or sell assets, especially commodities or shares, at a fixed price but to be delivered and paid for later.”

Actually, our escapade with crabbing has nothing to do with futures per se since we didn’t agree to sell our crab for a fixed price. Futures is just a cool bit of financial knowledge to know. Fishermen, at least, could use this technique to sell their crab. We, on the other hand, all just agreed to eat it.

Futures aside, our trip crabbing was a lot of fun. The Crabmaster (my lovely uncle) caught one Dungeness crab that was legal to take home. He discovered his secret calling to be a crabber while at it (and made a cool video of our trip).

He was quite fearless. MVP all around.

He was quite fearless. MVP all around.

Now for the important question (I still haven’t forgotten this is a personal finance blog), how much did that one crab cost us? (Hint: A lot)

Cost of Good(s) Sold (well, eaten in this case):                                         

Trap: $30

Chicken legs: $5.66

Bucket: $3.99

Crab License: $9/per person ($36 for the four of us)

Crab lessons: $0 (free event put on by Lincoln City)

Our adventure didn’t take us terribly far away and if crabbing becomes a pastime in my family, then we can do it closer to home. Therefore, I’ll put transportation at $0.

Total COGS/Eaten: $75.65

That crab is already looking super expensive.

We also have to factor in the opportunity cost of the crabbing trip, namely our time and the amount of money we would have made by investing that $75.65 elsewhere.

Opportunity Cost:

Time: $160

Assuming four college students—instead of one family—wanted to go crabbing, then I estimated the value of their time to be minimum wage at my university (since minimum wage is different everywhere in the United States). We crabbed for around four hours, and with the $10/hour I make, then the opportunity cost of time for a group of four college buddies would be $160.

Fun is, of course, priceless—as is time in good company. However, whenever calculating the cost of what you are buying, it is extremely important to consider the amount of time you spend.

Interest: 18 cents

Instead of investing in our crabbing knowledge, we could have invested that $75.65 elsewhere. I assumed that we would have put the money in a three month treasury bond, which currently has an extremely low interest rate of 0.24%.*

Total Cost (including opportunity costs): $235.83

How much our crab would have cost in the supermarket: $18.29 ($10.45/lb.)

Price of our crab: $217.46 ($20.81/lb.) Certainly the most expensive crab I have ever eaten.

If we keep up the rate of only catching one, 1.75 lb. crab every trip, then it will take us 12 crabbing trips (or just 12 crabs) to make up our costs (not including labor and the additional chicken we would have to buy). However, I fully trust that the Crabmaster will catch quite a few in future trips, especially in September when crabbing season actually starts.**

These were interesting calculations on our family adventure. However, even as a personal finance blogger, I think the price of our extremely expensive crab isn’t all that matters. In the end, having great warm, fuzzy family memories that I can recount online and to future generations is very valuable to me. We learned a new skill that would be useful should zombies attack, had a lot of fun, and can potentially make back our money.

In the end (to keep with the warm, fuzzy theme):

Experience: Priceless

Memories: Fun

Bragging Rights: 0 (My uncle really did all the work.)

Good Food: 1 Crab

 

*I really questioned whether I should include this or not. It doesn’t actually change the number of trips needed to make back our initial crabbing investment, but it is an interesting opportunity cost to consider. Plus, 18 cents is almost 1/5 of a really good cup of coffee here, so it definitely matters.

**Classes, unfortunately, start on August 30, so I’m just going to cry on the way back to college.